Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 10 April 2008) . . Page.. 1285 ..
robust; that is the role of an opposition. Nevertheless, I think it would be fair to say that the system does work well.
The amendment moved by Mr Seselja seems to suggest that this function of an ethics and integrity adviser should be established by way of legislation. That is not a proposal that the government would support, and the reason for that is that I do not think we need to go through the process of establishing a statutory framework for this service to be made available to members. There is a range of services that are made available to members. They do not need to be established by a statute—they can, instead, simply be provided for by an order of the Assembly—and I really fail to see what this process would add to the framework that Mr Berry has already outlined. He has outlined the role of the ethics adviser, the manner in which they will conduct their duties and the manner of their appointment and dismissal. Mr Berry has outlined all of these things already.
An order of the Assembly, I would have thought, would be sufficient for this new position to be created. It does not need, necessarily, to have statutory status to be an effective and workable arrangement. At the end of the day, what we are saying is that members should have open to them the ability to seek advice from somebody who is engaged by the Assembly but who is clearly independent, who does not have an affiliation to any particular member or party in this place but has expertise in giving guidance to individuals when they face particular ethical dilemmas or problems, and I think this is a very sensible way to proceed. So the government will not support the amendment. I fail to see what this will add to the process. An order of the Assembly should be sufficient, and the government will be supporting Mr Berry’s motion.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (12.04): Speaking to the amendment, I think the function is reasonably clear from Mr Berry’s proposal and I am not sure that the amendment brings anything to the table that is not adequately covered. I think the second part of the amendment, which asks the Assembly to detail how the ethics and integrity adviser might conduct his or her duties, is overly prescriptive. The manner of appointment and dismissal is clearly dealt with under paragraph 8 in terms of removal from office and under paragraph 7 which clearly vests the responsibility for this in the hands of the Speaker.
The matter of remuneration or the nature of that remuneration will be influenced by the fact that it is a part-time position. These were issues canvassed in the admin and procedure committee, and Mr Seselja’s party is represented there by Mrs Burke, so I am not sure why that has arisen now. Remuneration Tribunal fees are set for various people holding part-time office that would be comparable and I am sure would serve as a guide to the Speaker. So I will not be voting for this amendment because I do not think it brings much to the table. I think the motion as originally presented by Mr Berry encapsulates all that is required without it being overly prescriptive, which I think in some ways may lessen the capacity of the individual who is appointed to the role.
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Order! For the information of members, the members in the gallery are members of the parliamentary prayer network. Welcome to the Legislative Assembly.