Paul Brereton, the head of Australia’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), has cautioned lawyers about offering risk-based advice and has indicated potential inquiries concerning the consultancy sector. Addressing the UN Global Compact Network’s 2023 Australian Dialogue on Bribery and Corruption, he expressed concerns over the significant engagement of external consultants by the government and how Commonwealth services are often outsourced to these entities. Such practices, he feels, could compromise the integrity of governance. Furthermore, Brereton emphasized the role of the NACC in not only investigating potential corruption but also in guiding the public sector on maintaining transparency and integrity. He noted that while not all practices might be corrupt, they could still erode integrity. Geoffrey Watson, SC, of the Centre for Public Integrity praised Brereton’s remarks, especially on legal advice, suggesting that lawyers should primarily advise on the law rather than speculating on risks.
This is a summary of “Corruption chief warns lawyers, consultants” published in The Australian Financial Review on August 10, 2023, written by Michael Pelly. Read it in full here.