Page 3800 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013

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The essence, though, is that we will support this move. This has been subject to significant discussion within committee and within this place. I know the Speaker has been involved in discussions as well. It is very important that, given the Speaker is going to be the person to essentially take on these responsibilities, she is comfortable with that. I believe she will speak to that effect throughout the course of this debate.

There are some question marks in terms of how this process will now unfold. Based on the amendments that were circulated but will now not be moved, I believe we will have a position where the Auditor-General, the Clerk of the Assembly, the Electoral Commissioner and so on will essentially be treated equally—there will not be one set of rules for one and one set of rules for another. As we move through the detail stage I think that is important, because what is good for one should be good for another, unless there is a specific reason that that not be the case, for example, the ombudsman, who is dual-hatted. It is unfortunate that something that should be an important and reasonably simply process has become convoluted and is something we are now trying to work out at the last minute on the floor of the Assembly.

There are some good elements to this in terms of the move towards these entities—that being the Auditor-General and so on—being more properly directed by this place and by the Speaker, and that is a positive move. I note there are some caveats with regard to appointment of positions and funding. I think the Chief Minister and certainly the Treasurer when it comes to the budget can essentially overrule what has been advised. So it will be interesting to see what the Treasurer does with regard to recommendations that come forward.

It has been Liberal Party policy that, as an example, the Auditor-General’s budget should be set by the PAC, so these are incrementally positive moves. We will have to watch to see in some detail as to how it plays out and whether it makes any substantive difference. There is an indication that shows these entities are more independent and are more responsive to the Assembly than they are to the executive, and I think that is a positive move, but how this then plays out through those caveats in this legislation with regard to appointments and the budget will remain to be seen. We will watch with interest as the detail stage ensues and amendments are moved or not moved.

I reiterate the point that we will support this today in principle. But, I say again, let us make sure that, if ministers are moving something in this place, they get the support and all of the wrinkles ironed out before bringing it in here. We will continue to adjourn matters that Mr Rattenbury brings into this place. We have now seen three items today from Mr Rattenbury—three items—that have had to be rewritten. The first was the code of conduct that the Chief Minister had to rewrite because it was poorly drafted. The second was around the commissioner for standards that, in essence, I had to rewrite because it was poorly drafted. And then we have this legislation which has to be fixed up because of problems and which is subject to amendments not only from the Chief Minister but from Mr Rattenbury himself.

I do not know if the problem is with Mr Rattenbury or with his staff. A couple of them are going red on the benches there. Perhaps they need to have a look at their drafting

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