Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 20 August 2009) . . Page.. 3428 ..
Before moving on to some of the key points from the report, I would just like to thank the inquiry officer, Erin Anderson, for the work she has done on this report and also the parliamentary budget officer report. I also thank Tom Duncan and Janice Rafferty for their assistance, as well as the other members of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure—the chair, Mr Rattenbury, and Ms Burch and Mrs Dunne.
The terms of reference for this particular inquiry were to inquire into appropriate mechanisms to coordinate and evaluate the implementation of the Latimer House principles in the governance of the ACT. The Latimer House principles describe best practice for the relationship between the parliament, the executive and the judiciary. As is noted on page 1 of the report which has been tabled today, the principles promote good governance, the rule of law and human rights. The central principle states that each commonwealth country’s parliaments, executives and judiciaries are the guarantors in their respective spheres of the rule of law, the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights and the entrenchment of good governance based on high standards, honesty, probity, and accountability.
The committee wrote to approximately 40 stakeholders inviting submissions and received 12 submissions. Given the breadth, clarity and substance of these submissions, the committee did decide that it would not be necessary to hold a public inquiry to take further evidence. Along with further research, this formed the basis of deliberations.
The two main recommendations in the report are recommendations 1 and 2 that, following consultation with the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, the Speaker appoint a suitably qualified person to conduct an assessment of the three arms of government in the application of Latimer House principles in the governance of the ACT, that the independent assessment be undertaken mid-term of each Assembly and that the resultant report be tabled in the Assembly by the Speaker.
Recommendation 3 is that continuing resolution 8A be amended to insert a new paragraph which states that in the second year after a general election, following consultation with the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, the Speaker shall appoint a suitably qualified person to conduct an assessment of the implementation of the Latimer House principles in the governance of the ACT, with the report being tabled by the Speaker and referred to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure.
I note that recommendation 4 is particularly interesting, suggesting that an assessor might consider the potential governance shortcomings identified through submissions. The Electoral Commissioner made the point that the Public Sector Management Act and the Financial Management Act could be seen to allow executive or departmental control of commissions and other statutory office-holders. This was something that was raised in debate yesterday in regard to the Gambling and Racing Commission. These are matters to do with the separation of powers, and this is a concept that is broadly understood, especially when it comes to the parliament and the judiciary. In practice, the separation of powers is not always straightforward. It can be particularly hard to get a handle on the separation between parliament and the executive. This is in