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Legislative Assembly (Members’ Staff) Act 1989 . . Page.. 990 ..

I would like to reiterate the two points I made in introducing the Bill, which may have caused some concern to members. The first of those points is that this amendment will in no way inhibit members from choosing their staff in line with their political convictions. Were there to be that restraint on members who are clearly of a particular political persuasion, it would be unworkable. The Discrimination Act does make an exemption for people such as us as employers. We are entitled to choose personal staff in line with our or their political convictions if we believe that that is a relevant consideration. The second point is that the amendment that I am bringing in is in no way retrospective. It applies prospectively, to future cases, and I hope that the apparent confusion which has arisen in the Human Rights Office will therefore not exist in the future. I thank members again for their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail Stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (11.53), by leave: I move:

Page 2, line 2, clause 4, insert “(whether in his or her capacity as an office-holder within the meaning of the Legislative Assembly (Members’ Staff) Act 1989 or otherwise)” after “Assembly”.

Page 2, lines 4 and 5, clause 4, omit “the Legislative Assembly (Members’ Staff) Act 1989”, substitute “that Act”.

I have already discussed my amendments with respect to making it clear that office-holders are included in the definition of a member. One would not think there was any confusion about that; but in fact that is an inference one might draw from reading the distinction in the LA(MS) Act, so it is appropriate to clear it up. From memory, I think that Act covers Ministers, the Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition. That is my recollection of what an office-holder is in those terms. I am not sure whether that now covers such positions as Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Speaker or not.

Ms McRae: Deputy Speaker it does.

MR HUMPHRIES: Ms Follett says no. Ms McRae says yes. I am not sure what the answer is, but the issue is one that I think we should clear up absolutely by having this provision in the legislation. I table my explanatory memorandum, Mr Speaker.

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