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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 11 August 2016) . . Page.. 2830 ..

more inclusive and more determinative decision-making role in these matters. These would need to be broad agreements as to how this might operate and some means to test the manner in which funding claims were advanced and accepted. For instance, I see the value in developing a once per term review process by independent experts with financial management and parliamentary experience to evaluate the funding requirements of this Assembly.

This process could result in a report to the administration and procedure committee on reasonable baseline funding, indexing parameters and any particular strategic funding matters that need to be addressed such as capital expenditure requirements. Such a process could be used to strike a balance between the two elements. On the one hand there would be a need for the parliament to be able to perform its functions effectively and without undue executive interference. On the other there would be the competing need for efficient and cost-effective administrative arrangements. The committee and the Speaker could then determine the recommended appropriation which the executive would be obliged, with the broad political support of the committee, to accept.

Such a process would still enable input from across the political spectrum including from the government but it also would facilitate a parliamentary process rather than a cabinet process as the deliberative mechanism. This type of arrangement is not too dissimilar from that which already operates in the New Zealand parliament. There a committee is responsible for recommending the funding vote to be included in the appropriation for officers of parliament. A convention operates whereby the recommended amount is included in the appropriation bill by the government without amendment.

A former Clerk of the New Zealand House of Representatives and author of Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, David McGee CNZM, QC, notes there has been one occasion where the amount for an officer of the parliament included in an appropriation bill differed from that recommended by the house. In that case the Officers of the Parliament Committee, which was responsible for the recommended appropriation, advised the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, as Mr McGee states:

The Ministers assured the committee that this had occurred as the result of an administrative error and that there was no intention to infringe the rights of the House.

It is this deference on the part of the executive to the parliament on matters relating to appropriations for the parliament that I would like to see embodied in the practices of this Assembly.

The steps we have taken so far with the development of budget protocols have been positive. Indeed they are well regarded by other jurisdictions around Australia and across the commonwealth. I look forward to these continuing and being expanded to include officers of the Legislative Assembly.

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