Page 1531 - Week 04 - Thursday, 29 March 2012

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I want to indicate the reasons for a position that I advanced. I was always opposed to the Electoral Commissioner being an officer of the parliament. It is for a very simple reason: whilst the Electoral Commission has a number of members on it, and while that commission is concerned with things to do with the parliament—the distribution of seats, for example; the conduct of elections; and the determination of who has been elected or not—it actually is not a servant of the parliament. In fact, it is a statutory officer whose main job is to look at the structure of the parliament. It does not report to the parliament. There is a conflict of interest sitting up here: that commission would be doing its work and then providing its work to the very members who will benefit or receive a detriment as the result of that work. I did not support that view and I am pleased to see that in this report the Electoral Commission is not included in a recommendation to do that.

This report continues the amount of reform that has been present as a feature of this particular Assembly. It is important that at some point between now and October we acknowledge that, whilst the First Assembly was a very significant experiment which was at one point the laughing-stock of the town, at another point it was actually the foundation stone upon which this whole Assembly sits. So you have got a bit of a conflict here. But this continues the advance in the maturity of this parliament, in my view.

The creation of an officer of the parliament is not something we should do lightly. I am very pleased to see that in the report it says that we should do it only rarely. I think that is great.

I commend this report to members. I reiterate my plea to people out there in academia to get hold of this report and start digesting it, because this is a very big step forward that we take.

Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell) adjourned to the next sitting.

Independent workplace audit

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella) (12.01), by leave: I move:

That the resolution of the Assembly of 14 February 2012 relating to the referral of staffing matters in the Leader of the Opposition’s office to an Independent Auditor be amended by adding a new paragraph (7):

“(7) if the Assembly is not sitting when the report is completed the Speaker or, in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, is authorised to give directions for its printing, publication and circulation.”

Members, this is largely an administrative matter. We heard the Speaker advise the chamber not that long ago that it is quite probable that the independent auditor will conclude his considerations around this matter and that it is possible that the report will be concluded before Easter. We do not know—nobody will know—when that actual date will be; nor should anybody at this point know when that will be. However, it will be a while before we next sit. We will not sit until May. In the interests of

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