Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (29 November) . . Page.. 5159 ..
That is why I am reluctant to go for an absolutist test on this one. That is why we will not be supporting this amendment. It is about the absolutism of it. These are matters of judgement and we expect the judgement to be carefully used in these circumstances.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (6.29): If we are going to try to avoid absolutisms, why do we have criteria in there? It says, "Is, or has, in the five years immediately before the day of the proposed appointment been a public servant". Why do we have that in there? We should strike that out. Obviously, we are trying to protect the integrity of the integrity commission here. That is why it is not reasonable that the CEO, who also becomes the acting commissioner, could be a member of a political party in the past five years.
I cannot imagine any circumstance where that is actually permissible in the eyes of the public. I just cannot imagine any circumstances where you could say that somebody who has been a party member in the past five years is suddenly making the call on whether or not to investigate politicians. We might say that these are extreme circumstances. Well, they are not, really.
This is about upholding the integrity of a new body. This is a special body. We do not have precedent here; we do not have form. We have to make sure that we put in place certain standards that ensure the reputation of this organisation. To that end, I think it is very important that we at least maintain political impartiality by way of the CEO and the commissioner.
That the amendment be agreed to.
The Assembly voted—
Ayes 9 : Mr Coe, Mr Milligan, Mrs Dunne, Mr Parton, Mrs Jones, Mr Wall, Mrs Kikkert, Ms Lawder, Ms Lee
Noes 12 : Mr Barr, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Berry, Ms Orr, Ms J Burch, Mr Pettersson, Ms Cheyne, Mr Rattenbury, Ms Fitzharris, Mr Steel, Mr Gentleman, Ms Stephen-Smith
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 6.33 to 7.30 pm.
Integrity Commission Bill 2018