25/06/2008 - 13:37

Reality check needed on ACCC process

25/06/2008 - 13:37

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel has today defended the integrity of the corporate watchdog, but said a 'reality check' was needed on commentary by the ACCC on the decision making process.

Reality check needed on ACCC process

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel has today defended the integrity of the corporate watchdog, but said a 'reality check' was needed on commentary by the ACCC on the decision making process.

Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra today, Mr Samuel declined to respond to any questions regarding the criminal proceedings recently instituted against Mr Richard Pratt.

"However, I think it is time we did a reality check on commentary on how decisions are made at the ACCC.

"There has been too much talk in recent months of 'Graeme Samuel's ACCC', and of decisions having been made in pursuit of personal motives. Let me make it clear - all decisions of the ACCC are made by all seven commissioners and over the past five years almost every decision has been unanimous.

"Decisions are made after careful consideration and rigorous analysis from staff. In legal matters the ACCC consults with its legal advisers and where necessary eminent senior legal counsel. Our decisions are subject to scrutiny and review by the courts, tribunals and the Parliamentary committee process.

"Ultimately we are bound to exercise our powers in accordance with the principles of administrative law which include tests of natural justice, reasonableness, proper purpose and good faith.

"In cases involving criminal prosecutions the ACCC must refer matters to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions who has full carriage of all criminal proceedings under the Trade Practices Act. The concurrence of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, based on statutory standards of proof and prospects of conviction, is required for any criminal prosecution to proceed.

"The ACCC has a strict policy of not commenting on matters before the court. Adherence to that policy is essential to protect the integrity of the judicial system.

"However it undeniably leaves the ACCC open as an unprotected target for those who would seek to criticise the Commission's actions.

"I guess we are fair game. But we cannot and will not respond to this criticism, no matter how irresponsible or misconceived we perceive it to be."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options