Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2215 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Mr Osborne suggests that this appointment should be for seven years. I think that is somewhat too long. I would favour a five-year term. The reason behind the five-year term is to ensure that there is a fresh view and a fresh look at what is going on. The reason for not reappointing somebody is actually double-bladed. On the one hand, the person who has been appointed would not be seeking to please government in order to get another appointment. We certainly do not see that from the current Auditor-General, I think most of us would recognise. On the other hand, if the person who is there has been particularly critical of a government, it may well be that that will not continue when the change occurs. If the issue is significant, it will continue. I think that is a fundamental issue.

It is interesting what people perceive an Auditor-General to be. Some members of this Assembly, particularly members of the opposition, take as gospel every comment that the Auditor-General makes. For them the reports on Bruce Stadium were absolutely accurate, without question, as the Auditor-General had said what was in them, it was gospel, but when it comes to the $344 million that the Auditor-General has identified as being the operating loss that Labor left as part of its legacy, it is said that that is different, that the Auditor-General cannot be right there, that he has not done his job properly, that he did not say that, that it was not about Labor, and so on. It is interesting to see how selective we can be in this place about the Auditor-General. It is not about the particular individual, of course; it is about the particular office.

The Auditor-General Amendment Bill also talks about reports to the Legislative Assembly. A fundamental part of the role of the Auditor-General is to make sure that the reports he does go directly to the Legislative Assembly. That does happen at the moment. Mr Speaker, you table those reports and we go through a process to ensure that they have the protection of parliamentary privilege. I am not convinced that the requirements that Mr Osborne is seeking to put into the legislation really need to be put into the legislation because they are, in fact, the very thing that happens already. I would like Mr Osborne in his response to explain why it is that he needs to do that, if he is intending to continue to pursue that issue. I think Mr Osborne's bill contains some good ideas, but I would like to see some modification of them in the detail stage if the bill passes through the in-principle stage.

MR OSBORNE (5.47), in reply: Mr Speaker, I have no idea of the questions that were asked by Ms Tucker and Mr Moore.

Mr Moore: Don't worry; I will sort them out later.

MR OSBORNE: We will sort them out after the in-principle stage. I have just been in discussion with Mr Quinlan and Mr Humphries in an attempt to move forward with this bill. They have a number of concerns. One is in relation to privilege, which Mr Quinlan spoke about. I think they intend to seek some advice from your office during the break, Mr Speaker. Mr Humphries is seeking some advice on a number of issues within the legislation.

I understand that they are prepared to pass the bill in principle, which we will do, and then I will adjourn the debate at the detail stage, coming back to it later tonight. There seems to be general support for proposed new subsections 17 (1), (2), (3) and possibly (5). Mr Speaker, it appears that I do not have the numbers for the insertion

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .