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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (29 November) . . Page.. 5158 ..


but there is a whole other set of processes here. There is a selection process that you, Madam Speaker, will lead. If somebody had overtly been a member of a political party for the past few years and had been really out there—that kind of thing—that is one thing. But if they sort of had a flutter with a new party that boiled up five years ago and they had belonged to it for six months, but they have moved on to do a bunch of other things, that would be an entirely different consideration.

Firstly, there is a selection process. Then there is the two-thirds of the Assembly that has to make this decision as well. I think you need to see these things in totality, not as singular matters. That is where I think simply to apply this sort of strict condition would be too strict, too absolutist. There are various other safeguards built into this legislation. That is how we have thought about this legislation. This legislation is a tapestry. There are quite a few elements that militate against the point that Mr Coe was making.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.26): This is one of those pub test things. Yes, the Chief Minister might call it a line ball issue, but this is not a line ball issue. This is someone who has had political involvement becoming the CEO of an integrity organisation that oversees, amongst other things, people who are members of political parties. I think that Mr Rattenbury is incorrect. The appointment is made by the commissioner and not by the Assembly. There is not any public scrutiny of the appointment in the same way that there is public scrutiny of the commissioner.

We have introduced legislation today that says that certain sorts of property developers cannot make donations to political parties. So we are being very stringent in some places. Here, where someone may have political involvement and may get through the process, I think it just does not past the pub test.

We are actually here addressing community concerns about whether or not people in the ACT, in ACT government organisations and in the Assembly are conducting themselves with probity. Then you have somebody—it does not matter which political party they belong to; they will have a bias—who, if given the chance, might exercise those functions.

Despite exercising the wisdom of Solomon, the perception will always be that if they make a decision or act in a particular way that disadvantages someone from another party, that they have acted in a politically biased way and it does reputational harm to the organisation. That is why Mr Coe's amendment must be supported.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (6.28): I must acknowledge that Mrs Dunne is right. I did get my appointment processes wrong there. It seemed inevitable that somewhere in this complex debate we would eventually get one of them confused. Nonetheless, I make this point: in recruiting the CEO, we are entrusting the commissioner with substantial responsibility. This is actually a discussion we have had in the discussions in the last few days. Where does one draw the line? We have given the commissioner broad powers and we are giving someone significant responsibilities. This is a matter they will need to weigh up in their consideration of who would be recruited as the CEO.


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