Page 3810 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013

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Clauses 3 and 4, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 5.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (12.00): I move amendment No 3 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3869].

This amendment omits the limitation of a person being appointed Auditor-General within two years of having previously served as a public servant. As currently drafted, the bill would prohibit the appointment of anyone who has been a public servant at any time during the preceding two years. This would include service within the commonwealth public service, the ACT public service or that of another jurisdiction.

This amendment has been proposed after discussions with you, Madam Speaker, and with the Auditor-General, who agrees that the appointment process should be the process whereby suitable candidates are identified or are appointed to the job, and that can deal with some of the issues about their previous work experience. So this seeks to remove that from the bill.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.01): The opposition will support this amendment. It is reasonable that public servants not be discriminated against. There are ways that it can be ensured that any perceived or actual conflict of interest can be dealt with. Therefore, it is an appropriate amendment that we will support.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.02): Whether or not there should be a limitation in place that prevents a person who has been a public servant within the last two years being appointed as either the Auditor-General or the Ombudsman, I think, is something that people can reasonably differ on. There are good arguments on both sides about whether or not the limitation should be in place.

As outlined in the explanatory statement, the reason for this is to prevent a conflict of interest or a perception of a conflict of interest and apply a similar standard as exists for corporate auditors. On the other hand, as the Chief Minister and you, I think in your earlier remarks, Madam Speaker have both argued, the bill does put in place a rigorous process for the appointment of the officer, and it is reasonable to say that anyone who was appointed following that process should be able to fulfil the role well. I accept that that is the prevailing view, that the limitation is unnecessary. In the scheme of things, and with the broader appointment processes that are in place, I am happy to support the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 6 to 54, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 55.

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