|Standing on shaky ground|
The ACT Criminal Code 2002, at http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2002-51/default.asp, provides further food for thought.
Sections 332-363 or so of the ACT Criminal Code contain numerous sections (perhaps especially Sections 332-335, 337-339, 351, 359, 361 and 363) which have the potential to apply to some or other situations of workplace dishonesty in which individuals are improperly given employment opportunities or other financial benefits, or others are improperly deprived of employment opportunities or otherwise subjected to financial losses.
Section 334, for example, defining the crime of "Conspiracy to defraud", with a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, includes as follows, which on the face of it could well apply to a situation where a casual employee, for example, was shut out of an employment opportunity and suffered financial loss by two or more people operating dishonestly together, or where such dishonesty was used to inappropriately give a job to someone in a display of nepotism or cronyism or some other form of improper favouritism:
|Yes, you were in it together all right!|
(1) A person commits an offence if the person conspires with someone else with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a gain from a third person.
(2) A person commits an offence if the person conspires with someone else with the intention of dishonestly causing a loss to a third person.
(3) A person commits an offence if the person—
(a) conspires with someone else to dishonestly cause a loss, or a risk of loss, to a third person; and
(b) knows or believes that the loss will happen, or that there is a substantial risk of the loss happening.
(4) A person commits an offence if the person conspires with someone else with the intention of dishonestly influencing a public official in the exercise of the official’s duty as a public official.
The police commonly attend shoplifting situations involving goods valued in the tens of dollars, and the sections of the Criminal Code I refer to above seem to imply that the police also have a duty to investigate and prosecute white collar crimes which can generate improper gains and losses amounting to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars over timeframes of weeks, months or years.
Having said all of this, the police and victims of possibly criminal levels of workplace dishonesty would have every right to expect politicians and senior public servants generally, and in the ACT the responsible Ministers and Chief Minister and the ACT Commissioner for Public Administration in particular, to deal with dishonesty in the workplace under the Public Sector Management Act (which prohibits workplace dishonesty, favouritism and so on in relation to employment and otherwise, in sections including 6-9 and 65), before the police should have to become involved. So that brings us back to the hope that politicians – especially the responsible Ministers – and senior public servants take all of this seriously.