The incumbent Minister of State responsible for the Commonwealth Ombudsman is the Hon Gary Gray MP.
The Hon Gary Gray is the Minister for the Public Service and Integrity.
Now it is claimed that the Commonwealth Ombudsman is “independent” and it is true that the Minister cannot interfere with the day-to-day operation of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. However the Commonwealth Ombudsman is required in accordance with the Ombudsman’s Statutory Duty under the Ombudsman Act 1976.
Complainants are required by law to be afforded Procedural Fairness (Natural Justice) and Section 12 of the Ombudsman Act 1976 requires the Ombudsman to provide reasons for deciding not to investigate a particular complaint.
Even it the reason is: “The Ombudsman has decided not to investigate your latest complaint about systemic corruption at ASIC because your latest complaint about misconduct by an Officer of ASIC is similar to a previous complaint about misconduct by another officer of ASIC“.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman cannot just throw allegations of systemic corruption at ASIC into the waste paper bin.
The Ombudsman cannot “black ban” members of the Public and advised them that future complaints to the Ombudsman out corruption in the Public Service will be ignored by the Ombudsman.
Under the Westminster Convention of Individual Ministerial Responsibility the Minister is responsible for the Ombudsman acting in accordance with the Ombudsman’s Statutory Duty under the Ombudsman Act 1976.
The Minister should also be ensuring that the Ombudsman advises the Minister Responsible for ASIC of the findings of investigations into allegations of corruption at ASIC, especially if it relates to the integrity and public confidence in the $1 Trillion Government Regulated Superannuation System.
Questions posed by Australian Guardians to the Minister of State responsible for the Commonwealth Ombudsman can be found under Question Time.
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