Australian Crime Commission

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Australian Crime Commission
File:Australian Crime Commission logo.png
Statutory authority overview
Formed January 1, 2003 (2003-01-01)
Superseding agency
Type Law enforcement
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Employees 591 (at April 2013)[1]
Minister responsible
Statutory authority executive
  • John Lawler, Chief Executive
Parent department Attorney-General's Department
Key document
  • Australian Crime Commission Act

The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) is an Australian Government national criminal intelligence and investigation agency. It was formulated under the Australian Crime Commission Act (ACC Act 2002)[2] which came into effect on 1 January 2003, establishing the ACC as a national statutory authority to combat serious and organised crime such as corruption, terrorism, drug trade, the narcotics industry and money laundering.

The ACC reports to the Minister for Home Affairs, is an entity of the Attorney-General's Department portfolio, and is accountable to and monitored and reviewed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Crime Commission.

The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity is tasked with preventing, detecting and investigating corruption issues which may develop at the Australian Crime Commission.[3]


The Commission has its origins with the April 2002 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Leaders Summit which agreed that a new national framework was needed to meet the challenges of combating terrorism and multi-jurisdictional crime. Consequently, the amalgamation of the former National Crime Authority (NCA), the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence (ABCI) and the Office of Strategic Crime Assessment (OSCA) took place and the ACC was formed. This combination, along with the then new powers granted to it in the ACC Act 2002,[2] enables the ACC to wield wide ranging jurisdictions and authority and thus to better execute its purposes, with its stated primary objective being strengthening the fight against nationally significant crime within Australia.

Within the Australian Federal Police, Simon Overland lead the Implementation Team that was to form the ACC.[4] Mick Keelty was the inaugural Chairperson.

Financial year Number of people
2007/08 210
2008/09 184
2009/10 102
2010/11 141
2011/12 97
Source: Annual Reports
Australian Crime Commission

In 2010, the authority was criticised for what some claimed was excessive spending on matters not directly related to investigating criminals.[5] It was also criticised by Bob Bottom in 2010 and 2012 for its continuation of a decline in the number of people charged.[6]

In January 2012, important legislative changes were made implemented with the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers and Offences) Bill 2011. This allowed the commission to share information with the private sector to prevent crime, to detect and to collect intelligence about criminal offences.[7]

In February 2013, the ACC released a report called Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport which found widespread drug use in professional sport.[8] It included allegations of involvement by criminal network, use of unapproved substances and the systemic use of banned drugs. The release was described by a former head of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority as the "blackest day in Australian sport".[8]

Roles and functions

The ACC has a range of statutory functions centred on intelligence collection and dissemination and criminal investigations. Among the ACC’s functions is recommending national criminal intelligence priorities (NCIPs) to the ACC Board and providing strategic intelligence relating to these priorities. The ACC Board determines NCIPs, provides strategic direction to and determines priorities for the ACC among other functions. The ACC works collaboratively with state and territory police forces and Commonwealth agencies from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Furthermore, the ACC has ongoing powers similar to a Royal Commission including extensive coercive powers. This includes the power to examine witnesses in a "star chamber", with the witnesses being compelled to answer questions of the Commission. These witnesses are served with a summons, which includes a prohibition of telling anyone about the summons. The punishment for telling anyone about the summons is contempt of court, with a penalty of 8-9 months imprisonment.

These powers have been the subject of challenges in the Federal Court of Australia and in the High Court. All of those challenges have failed.[citation needed]

The ACC established the National Identity Fraud Register to combat the use of fraudulent identities.[9]


The ACC has regional offices in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

See also


  1. Australian Public Service Commission (2 December 2013), State of the Service Report: State of the Service Series 2012-13 (PDF), Australian Public Service Commission, p. 254, archived (PDF) from the original on 6 December 2013<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Australian Crime Commission Act 2002" Australasian Legal Information Institute(AustLII)
  3. "Home". Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity. Retrieved 9 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Simon Overland: an expert on calm". Disability Professionals Victoria. Retrieved 25 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Rory Callinan (4 June 2010). "Frugal Australian Crime Commission gets office makeover". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 9 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Bob Bottom (20 October 2012). "Crime commission's relevance has diminished in the absence of its investigative role". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 25 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Susannah Moran (9 January 2012). "Australian Crime Commission to share information with private sector". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 9 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Simon Cullen & Ben Atherton (7 February 2013). "Doping probe rocks Australian sport". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Crime Commission targets ID theft". The Age. The Age Company. 27 September 2003. Retrieved 9 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links