Abuse of Public Office

The abuse of the position of power by a Commonwealth Public Official is a criminal offence under Section 142.2 of the Schedule to the Criminal Code Act 1995.

However criminal sanctions are almost never applied to Australian Public Servants no matter how serious the abuse of the power of public office.

The statutory offence replaces the common law offence of Misconduct in Public Office which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment so Australian Politicians have reduced the penalty that applies to the abuse of the power of Public Office, even in the event that proceedings are initiated against a Public Servant.

If you have suffer a financial loss due to an abuse of power by an Australian Public Servant you may have a claim for the Tort of Misfeasance in Public Office.

Australian Guardians will be putting Australian Public Servants who abuse the power of their public office in the spotlight so that the Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions can no longer turn a blind eye to serious abuses of power by Australian Public Servants.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions can provide Victim Impact Statements to the court in cases where Public Servants have abused their official power to the detriment to the Public. The detriment does not need to be solely a financial detriment.

If you are aware of a serious abuse of power by an Australian Public Servant or Agency Head, then contact Australian Guardians at ausguardian@gmail.com.

All such notifications will be treated in strict confidence.

 

Section 142.2   Abuse of public office

(1)  A Commonwealth public official is guilty of an offence if:

(a)  the official:

(i)  exercises any influence that the official has in the official’s capacity as a Commonwealth public official; or

(ii)  engages in any conduct in the exercise of the official’s duties as a Commonwealth public official; or

(iii)  uses any information that the official has obtained in the official’s capacity as a Commonwealth public official; and

(b)  the official does so with the intention of:

(i)  dishonestly obtaining a benefit for himself or herself or for another person; or

(ii)  dishonestly causing a detriment to another person.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 5 years.

(2)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a)  the person has ceased to be a Commonwealth public official in a particular capacity; and

(b)  the person uses any information that the person obtained in that capacity as a Commonwealth public official; and

(c)  the person does so with the intention of:

(i)  dishonestly obtaining a benefit for himself or herself or for another person; or

(ii)  dishonestly causing a detriment to another person.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 5 years.

(3)  Paragraph (2)(a) applies to a cessation by a person:

(a)  whether or not the person continues to be a Commonwealth public official in some other capacity; and

(b)  whether the cessation occurred before, at or after the commencement of this section.

 

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