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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2186..


MR RATTENBURY (continuing):

I would encourage the government to go back on this one, do some more work and talk to some of the stakeholders. I note Mr Stanhope talked about the Property Council welcoming the plan. I think they had to. I have been in lobby organisations. You just do not kick the government; you have to take that measured approach and try and drag them along.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Sorry, Mr Rattenbury, the time for discussion has now expired.

Independent reviewer of government advertising

Debate resumed.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.33): I would like to speak to some of the arguments that Mr Seselja made in the debate earlier today which, frankly, I found a little surprising. I understand that there may have been some further discussions during the course of the day. I am hopeful that when Mr Seselja arrives back in the chamber, we will find that we have made a way forward because, frankly, I thought that Mr Seselja's approach was somewhat undermining of the very legislation that he had written, brought to this chamber and had successfully passed with the support of the Greens.

I think the intent of the legislation was a good one: create a system whereby there is a check and balance to ensure that the government does not unduly take advantage of its role through the executive to use public funds in order essentially to gain political advantage through advertising processes.

But I think that Mr Seselja has sort of moved the goalposts because when we first debated this particular section around the appointment of the reviewer earlier in the year when we passed the legislation, Mr Seselja said:

We therefore propose that the minister make a choice that must be confirmed by a two-thirds majority of the Assembly and must be genuinely independent, qualified, and appropriate.

That is a perfectly good description. Mr Seselja made those comments in the context of the specific section that was about appointing the independent reviewer. The earlier suggestion had been that the Auditor-General do it. There was an amendment to create this role of independent reviewer.

But now Mr Seselja has come in here this morning and talked about the need for the best applicant. He has talked about our needing the best person for the job. I do not think that that is the test created in the legislation. I do not think it is the role of the Assembly necessarily to sit here and cast judgement on who is the best person because we set up a process that requires the minister to make an appointment. We did not set up legislation that said, "The Assembly will act like a big selection panel. All the members of the Assembly will receive all of the CVs and we will all sit here and decide who the best one is."


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