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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2131..

MS HUNTER (continuing):

The standard to which these must be measured is: does it give rise to a reasonable apprehension of partiality, prejudice or prejudgement?

I am not aware of anything that would lead me to believe that either of the nominees has any particular interest in the decisions that will be made in the role. There is no conduct to point to that suggests a view one way or the other. As I said, Mr Hull has published views in support of and criticising all parties in this place. There is no relationship, experience or association with any political party, nor a history of supporting or contributing to any party.

Finally, no other material has been brought to my attention that would give rise to a reasonable apprehension of partiality, prejudice of prejudgement. And neither have I seen any evidence to suggest that Mr Volker has any particular interest in the decisions that will be made in the role.

Some further examples of bias which I think it is relevant to highlight to assist in the evaluation of the existence of any bias include where the decision maker appears to have views which suggest they may prejudge or where there are close family or personal relationships between a decision maker and a party. Again, I have seen no evidence in regard to either of the nominees, and it is for these reasons that we are happy to support the nominations.

I would also like to add that it is not the people performing the role but also the actual scheme itself that establishes the credibility or otherwise of government advertising. I note this week that the commonwealth Auditor-General said he would not be part of the commonwealth government's new scheme in the evaluation of government advertising because he did not want to lend credibility to what in his view cannot be described as a credible scheme.

I think we are all very aware of how important the guidelines will be in the operation of this legislation and I look forward to some robust debates to ensure that we do have an objective and credible scheme that the public can have confidence in. As I said, I am confident that these two individuals will acquit the roles well and make honest, open and credible decisions with their minds open to the competing arguments on the merits of each individual advertising campaign, and I wish them well in doing so.

The act sets out quite clearly that it is incumbent upon the minister to appoint a reviewer and to present that nomination to the Assembly for its approval. There is no provision for members to participate in a selection process or to be made aware of alternative candidates. The requirement that two-thirds of the Assembly agree with the minister's proposal is a safeguard to ensure sound decision making. The act does not provide for it to be anything more than that. This is the system that we all agreed to.

There is no process in the act for parties, other than the government, to vet applicants. We must accept and acknowledge that we have provided for the minister and only the minister to make the decision as to who is nominated for the position. If you disagree with the nominees, you must explain why it is you believe that they will not acquit the job well. A comprehensive system of tests and standards has been established to make

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