Page 3074 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013

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unfortunate event that they are injured. The changes put forward in the bill make an integral contribution to modernising the design and management of the territory’s work injury management system and underscore, again, this Labor government’s commitment to tackling and improving on the rate of injury and death we see on worksites here in the ACT. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Officers of the Assembly Legislation Amendment Bill 2013

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.19): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am very pleased to be able to present the Officers of the Assembly Legislation Amendment Bill 2013. This is the second of the three governance and integrity reforms that the Greens committed to deliver in the lead-up to the election and that have been committed to be delivered in the parliamentary agreement for the Eighth Assembly. As I said when presenting the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Amendment Bill, each of these three bills, the AD(JR) Bill, the Officers of the Assembly Bill and the soon-to-be-presented freedom of information bill, will all help to ensure that the government exercises in a responsible and lawful way the power given to it on trust by the people it represents.

This bill will make a very important step forward in what is commonly referred to as the integrity arm of government. Recognising the Auditor-General, Ombudsman and Electoral Commission members as officers of the Assembly will fundamentally shift the underpinnings of the operations of these statutory officers and entrench their independence and responsibility to this Assembly rather than to the executive.

Ensuring the accountability of the executive for their actions is a vital role of the Assembly. Given the nature of contemporary executive government, I think all parliaments acknowledge that they cannot fulfil this responsibility alone and that they need statutory officers to assist in delivering on the responsibility for scrutinising the executive and ensuring that the functions and powers given to the executive by the parliament are fulfilled properly, effectively and efficiently. This bill will formally recognise those whom we task with that role fulfil it as an officer of the Assembly.

The history of Westminster government is one of continued centralisation of power within the executive. This bill will help shift the balance back to the parliament and assist the Assembly.

Officers of the parliament were described by the Constitution Unit’s Oonagh Gay and Barry Winetrobe in their detailed 2003 analysis of officers of the parliament as “a device to denote a special relationship with Parliament, which is designed to emphasise independence of the executive”. They further explained:

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