Page 701 - Week 02 - Thursday, 23 February 2012

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Thursday, 23 February 2012

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Leader of the Opposition

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Members, I wish to make a statement regarding the independent workplace audit. I wish to provide the Assembly with an update regarding the motion passed by the Assembly on Tuesday, 14 February directing me to commission an independent workplace audit of staffing arrangements and whether or not appropriate payments to staff were made in the office of the Leader of the Opposition for the period 2009-12.

I wish to inform the Assembly I have decided on an audit team to undertake the work. The audit team will be headed by Mr Ron McLeod AM and supported by locally based firm HBA Consulting. I have given the appointment careful consideration and am satisfied the audit team is of the highest standard, will perform their task thoroughly and will deliver a report that provides answers to the questions the Assembly has raised. I believe the audit team is strongly equipped to now go and do exactly that.

In selecting the audit team I have taken the time to seek the views of the leaders of the three political parties on the appointment. I thank each of the leaders for providing their views and can advise I reflected carefully on what they each said. Ultimately the decision rests with me as Speaker and, having assessed the options before me, I am confident the selected team have the skills and experience to fulfil the task.

Mr McLeod was a career public servant for over 40 years before his retirement from the Australian Public Service in 2002. He is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. He worked for a number of years in the Commonwealth Public Service Board before being appointed as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defence in 1983. In 1995 he became the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and in 1997 the federal government appointed him as a Commonwealth Ombudsman, a post that also functions as the ACT Ombudsman.

Other posts he occupied include leading an inquiry into a fundamental review of the commonwealth Public Service Act; for five years he was a member of the Commonwealth Administrative Review Council, which advises the Attorney-General on administrative law matters; and he was a member of the Council of Australian Archives for five years.

As members will be aware, shortly after his retirement from commonwealth employment the ACT government appointed Mr McLeod to conduct an inquiry into the operational response to the bushfires that swept through Canberra and the ACT in January 2003. Since then he has undertaken a number of reviews and inquiries for a range of commonwealth government agencies, including a top level review of the organisational structure of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in 2008.

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