Page 3798 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013
be required to consider, firstly, whether there are any reasonable grounds for the complaint and, secondly, whether the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or only for political advantage. I think it is very important to make sure the commissioner does not get used inappropriately. It will provide the commissioner with the test of reasonableness in deciding whether the complaint warrants the commissioner going down the path of a full investigation.
There is another important addition. If, having considered the matters I have just outlined, the commissioner refuses to conduct the investigation, the commissioner must write to the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker, as appropriate, giving reasons for that refusal. Then the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker, as appropriate, must give a copy of the letter to the person who made the complaint and to the person about whom the complaint was made. In that way the complaint does not just disappear into a black hole with no feedback coming back at all.
There are two other small but important additions: the first is putting a due date of 31 August for the commissioner’s annual reports to the Speaker, and the second is to require the standing committee on admin and procedures to review the operation of the commissioner after two years of operation and report to the Assembly in the first sitting period of 2016. That will enable the Assembly to consider the success or otherwise of this initiative and consider what changes might be required for it to be perhaps improved in the future.
We support the appointment of a commissioner for standards. It has the potential to be a good addition, but I think we have to make sure that we get this right. The amendment has been agreed to by the Labor Party, and I look forward to them being supported by Mr Rattenbury, hopefully, who has also identified that some issues need to be addressed in his original motion.
Debate (on motion by Ms Gallagher) adjourned to the next sitting.
Executive members’ business—precedence
Motion (by Mr Rattenbury, by leave) agreed to:
That Executive Member’s business be called on forthwith.
Officers of the Assembly Legislation Amendment Bill 2013
Debate resumed from 15 August 2013, on motion by Mr Rattenbury:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (11.22): I am looking for my debate speech, which I have not got. I wonder if another member could speak?
Mrs Dunne: Madam Deputy Speaker, can I suggest that the Chief Minister be given leave to speak later in the debate?