Page 597 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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As independent reviewer and alternate reviewer, Professor Pearce and Mr Volker will continue to review government campaigns over $40,000 to ensure they comply with the Government Agencies (Campaign Advertising) Act 2009, which aims to prevent the misuse of public funds. This is an important role in ensuring integrity, transparency and trust in the use of public funds for government communications. As part of the review process, the reports of the independent reviewer are presented to the Assembly on a biannual basis.

Professor Pearce has a long and distinguished career in academia and public office over many years. He is Australia’s leading authority on statutory interpretation and was a Commonwealth Ombudsman. Professor Pearce has conducted many reviews on behalf of the commonwealth and ACT governments, including the review into sexual abuse in the Defence Force and the CSIRO review of workplace conduct. He joined what is now the ANU College of Law in 1968 as a lecturer and was promoted to professor in 1981. He was Dean of the Law School from 1982 to 1984 and from 1991 to 1993. He was acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 1994 and retired in 1996. On retirement, he was appointed an emeritus professor of the university.

In addition to his achievements in the academic world, Professor Pearce has also held many public positions. His former roles include foundation adviser to the Senate Scrutiny of Bills Committee from 1981 to 1983, Chairman of the Australian Press Council from 1997 to 2000, member and later Chair of the Copyright Law Review Committee from 1983 to 2000, and the foundation president of the ACT Racing Appeals Tribunal from 2001 to 2004.

Professor Pearce was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2003 and awarded a Centenary Medal for his services to copyright. Professor Pearce’s extensive experience equips him perfectly to judge what is and is not appropriate in the expenditure of public funding. I consider him to be highly qualified to continue in this role for the Assembly and I trust that this view is shared by other MLAs.

I am also nominating Mr Volker to be reappointed to the role of alternate campaign advertising independent reviewer in the event that Professor Pearce is unavailable. Mr Volker was appointed as the first independent reviewer in February 2011 and for the past three years has performed the duties of the alternate reviewer.

He has extensive public service experience, including as a departmental secretary to three commonwealth departments: Veterans’ Affairs, Social Security and Employment, Education and Training. He was also chairman of the board of Defence Housing Australia from 2008 to 2014 and held a number of positions for the ACT government, including chair of the ACT Business Incentives Scheme Panel, ACT Tourism and the Education Export Council.

I commend these nominations to the Assembly. They are exceptionally qualified nominees and we look forward to the continuation of them in their ongoing roles to implement the necessary processes for the approval of campaign advertising. I present them formally to the Assembly for consideration.

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