This is the first time that a public report has detailed why covert listening warrants targeting senior police, and at least one journalist, were obtained by the NSW Police and NSW Crime Commission from 1999 to 2001 after being rubber-stamped by the Supreme Court.
The report is also critical of the two-years-running secret Ombudsman's inquiry into the bugging. It found that that was an inherent conflict in the Ombudsman combining the investigation of the initial unlawful warrants with an investigation of whistle blowers.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
"The committee has put together a clear blueprint for reform that will deliver a single, independent and fair Police oversight body and a far more accountable system for the issuing of covert surveillance warrants.
"Post-election the new Parliament must immediately implement these two crucial recommendations from the report.
"The existing system of police investigating police creates a fundamental conflict of interest between officers' real and perceived obligations to their fellow police and their duty to the public. This is no good for police or the public.
"In order to ensure public confidence in our police there needs to be public confidence in the handling of police complaints, this can only be achieved through a single, independent and transparent body.
"The committee has delivered an apology to both Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas and senior Journalist Steve Barrett for being improperly targeted with dozens of listening device warrants and called upon the Premier to do the same.
"After fifteen years of nobody accepting responsibility for hundreds of improperly obtained surveillance warrants, it is well and truly time that this apology is made.
"The Premier's effort to pre-empt the inquiry's recommendations by referring the question of police oversight to former Coalition Police Minister Andrew Tink is seriously misplaced.
"In 1992 Mr Tink was the architect of the current broken oversight system and when in government he opposed the Wood Royal Commission into police corruption.
"Reforming police oversight is a job for a non-partisan parliamentary committee, not a well-connected Liberal mate." Mr Shoebridge said.
25 February 2015