Page 3717 - Week 10 - Thursday, 14 September 2017

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and the relevant committee agree to the appointment of a given person before the appointment could be made.

Notwithstanding the intent behind the existing provisions, I am advised that an interpretation of the existing provisions is available to suggest that the Speaker might be in a position to ignore the advice of a committee in making such an appointment. Clauses 5, 9, 13, and 20 seek to put beyond doubt that the committee and the Speaker agree to the appointment of a person to one of those positions mentioned above before the Speaker makes such an appointment.

Secondly, the bill seeks to address a matter that was raised during the Eighth Assembly relating to the inadvertent removal of the provisions in the Auditor-General Act 1996 arising from the passage of the Officers of the Assembly Legislation Amendment Act 2013 which provided for a seven-year non-renewable term of appointment for the Auditor-General. The bill before us reintroduces that provision.

Thirdly, the bill that I have presented here today seeks to provide a statutory basis for the Speaker to seek administrative support and advice from the Office of the Legislative Assembly in relation to the exercise of the Speaker’s functions under the Auditor-General Act, the Electoral Act and the Ombudsman Act. This is a matter that was first raised by the Speaker in the Eighth Assembly, following the commencement of the legislation establishing the officers of the Legislative Assembly, and was the subject of a recommendation of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure of the Eighth Assembly. These provisions will enable the Speaker to receive administrative support and advice from the office and from any other entity that is able to provide impartial administrative support and advice.

That committee—that is, the admin and procedure committee of the Eighth Assembly—noted that there is a governance imperative for the Speaker to be able to access professional advice and support on the operation of broader public sector management issues that might be engaged by the exercise of relevant powers, and these proposed amendments address that imperative.

There are occasions, particularly in relation to the appointment or suspension or dismissal of an officer of the Legislative Assembly, where the Speaker will require external advice and support. However, it is also the case that the officers themselves will continue to provide administrative support and advice to the Speaker on routine matters relating to the performance of their functions.

Fourthly, the bill seeks to dis-apply section 31(2)(c) of the Financial Management Act. Section 31(2)(c) introduces a requirement that directors-general must manage directorates in a way that is not inconsistent with the policies of the government. Through equivalency provisions elsewhere in the act, the Clerk and officers of the Assembly are considered directors-general for the purposes of section 31 and are therefore currently captured by that requirement. While such a provision is perfectly appropriate for heads of agencies that serve the government of the day, it is another matter entirely for such a requirement to apply to officers that serve the territory’s legislative branch. The amendment in clause 11 rectifies this anomaly.

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