I thought it might help to point out on the Federal ICAC issue, that the claims that it would not be appropriate to look at past events because of the retrospectivity issue is not correct.

Retrospectivity applies where the standard by which behaviour is to be judged has been changed. It would then clearly be wrong to judge past behaviour according to a standard which did not apply at the time the behaviour was conducted.

But with the ICAC issue, the standards for judging behaviour have not changed – merely the means by which non-compliant past behaviour might be detected.

If the current view of retrospectivity were applied more widely, it would mean that whenever the police set up a new cold-case unit, it would not be able to look at past events, which would of course be nonsense.

A new investigatory body merely supplements or expands current means of investigation and that does not involve any adverse element of retrospectivity.

With best wishes,


Dr Robert N Moles

Networked Knowledge http://netk.net.au

Adjunct Principal Researcher
College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Flinders University of South Australia