Page 3095 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 14 August 2012

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Election Commitments Costing Bill 2012

Mr Barr, by leave, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (11.57): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This morning I have tabled both the government response to the report of the Select Committee on Election Commitments Costing Bill 2011 Exposure Draft and the Election Commitments Costing Bill 2012 and supporting guidelines. I would like to take a few moments to outline the government’s response, as it has a material impact on the bill that I have introduced today.

The government is committed to formalising the election commitment costing process. The time prior to an election represents a departure from the normal course of government and politics. This bill seeks to address some of the challenges of that time.

The election commitments costing process means that the resources of the ACT public service are available not only to the government but also to other MLAs in certain circumstances. It is therefore important that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and there are clear guidelines to be followed.

In 2011 the government tabled an exposure draft of a proposed bill on election commitment costings in the Assembly for comment. As a result of this government initiative, a select committee was established to inquire into the Election Commitments Costing Bill 2011 Exposure Draft.

This select committee was a trial of the collaborative committee model for legislation development between the parties. This approach has allowed for an open discussion of questions associated with both the draft bill and the supporting guidelines.

The committee tabled its report on the 2011 draft version of the Election Commitments Costing Bill on 7 June, and the government would like to thank members of the committee for their work.

In considering the recommendations of the committee, it was necessary to balance the rights and responsibilities particular to government, the obligations of the public service to serve the government of the day and the ability for individuals to meet the legal obligations that would be imposed by the proposed bill.

On review of the committee’s recommendations, the government has agreed to nine of the 12 recommendations. These nine recommendations have been reflected in the bill I am introducing today, together with its supporting guidelines. Of the remaining

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