Dossier Case D2012/56
Agency: Commonwealth Ombudsman
When a Member of the Public takes a Complaint to a “Complaint Handling Agency” such as the Commonwealth Ombudsman they are entitled to receive Procedural Fairness (Natural Justice).
That is the Complainant is entitled to:
- Have their Complaint heard by an unbiased Decision Maker, and
- To be afforded a fair hearing of their Complaint
In the “Making a Complaint” brochure the Ombudsman claims to “independent and impartial”
In another brochure “Administrative Deficiency” the Ombudsman categorizes the types of Administrative Deficiency the Ombudsman can investigate.
- Unprofessional behaviour by an officer
- Beach of duty/misconduct by an officer (eg Breach of the APS Code of Conduct)
- Legal error (eg a denial of Procedural Fairness (Natural Justice))
Under the Ombudsman Act 1976 the Ombudsman has been provided with “discretionary” powers to decide with Complaints the Ombudsman will investigate and which Complaints the Ombudsman will decline to investigate.
However under Section 12(1) of the Act, the Ombudsman MUST provide a reason to the Complainant for deciding not to investigate the Complaint.
“Where the Ombudsman does not, for any reason, investigate action taken by a Department or by a prescribed authority in respect of which a complaint has been made to him or her, the Ombudsman shall, as soon as practicable inform the complainant of his or her decision and of the reasons for his or her decision“.
As a matter of Procedural Fairness the Complainant then has the opportunity to request an Internal Review by another Investigating Officer of the first decision not to investigate.
A Member has provided Australian Guardians with copies of responses to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 that confirm that the Ombudsman has received a number of Complaints in relation to allegations of serious misconduct by Officer of ASIC, including a former Chairman.
In accordance to the Ombudsman’s Service Charter, the Ombudsman promises to acknowledge the receipt of a Complaint (Approach) within 7 working days of receiving that Approach.
If the Ombudsman then decides not to investigate the Complaints submitted by this Member, the the Ombudsman should have provided a Notice under Section 12 of the Act, advising the Complainant of the decision not to investigate and the reasons for this decision.
The Complainant then has the opportunity to request and Internal Review by another Investigating Officer.
But what response did this Member receive from the Ombudsman in relation to the serious allegations of misconduct by several officers and a former Chairman of ASIC.
The following table confirms that these Complaints were in fact just thrown into the waste paper bin!
How safe do you believe your superannuation is when Officers of ASIC block you from obtaining copies of Trust Documents that you are lawfully entitled to have and contravene the APS Code of Conduct in doing so? Trust Documents that you need to check on your lawful superannuation entitlement?
The Commonwealth Ombudsman claims to be independent and impartial, yet when a Member who seeks redress for the actions of these Officers of ASIC, the Ombudsman throws the Member’s Complaints into the waste paper bin and no further action is taken by the Ombudsman!
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