Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (16 August) . . Page.. 2258..
MR BERRY (continuing):
members in their role as employers. We each, as employers, oversight or administer a range of matters in relation to our employees; that is, the staff in our offices.
These include the recruitment and selection of staff; determining work value, classification and salary point; assessing employees during probation, providing a safe and healthy workplace-occupational health and safety and of course equity and diversity; access to entitlements such as reimbursement for work-related mobile telephone usage; attendance patterns; overtime; leave; training and development, studies assistance; code of conduct; performance management; discipline; and termination. Each of these matters requires judgment and appropriate decisions. I believe that the best way to demonstrate to the community that we are determined to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest in relation to staffing is to adopt this amendment to the code of conduct for members.
On a number of occasions over the years of the Assembly there have been negative news reports of employment patterns in the Assembly which have included the employment of family members. It should be noted at this point that the Liberal Party has adopted a policy consistent with the amendment I have moved, and more recently so has the Labor Party.
So the time is right to add this incremental improvement in order that this aspect of practice in the Assembly is consistent for executive and non-executive members and that the further standing of this institution is better protected. I urge members to support the motion.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra-Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts) (4.08): I rise to support the proposal moved by Mr Berry on the members code of conduct-a proposal that essentially mirrors the arrangement in relation to employment of staff that applies to members of the executive of the ACT Legislative Assembly. I rise to support it for the reasons that Mr Berry has articulated.
There is one issue in relation to the code and its implementation that I make one comment on-and it is not in contradiction of the essential justification that Mr Berry provides-and I make the point, in relation to any circumstance in which any existing member of staff of a non-executive member would perhaps be proscribed into the future, that there is an issue in relation to the continuing operation of a lawful appointment. That appointment may, consistent with the current arrangement, which was made lawfully, reflect those conditions as they currently stand.
The law recognises, in a whole range of areas, that particular laws or rules should not apply retrospectively but should have prospective application. This particular change to the rules in the code of conduct on employment, on its face, would also apply prospectively. The government supports an understanding that it will apply prospectively but will not have retrospective application and that it will not affect the current employment arrangements of any non-executive member of the Assembly now or into the future in relation to that particular person in the event that there are examples within the Assembly of a person who in the future would perhaps be affected by the application of the rule. The government supports the principle and the philosophy but acknowledges that it is not retrospective, is prospective in application and would apply to those