Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 November 2017) . . Page.. 4926 ..
Auditor-General specifically, and officers of the Assembly more generally, as well as the Speaker’s role in these matters.
In August 2016 the Eighth Assembly Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure presented its report Inquiry into provisions of the Legislative Assembly, (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Act 2012. In particular, that report included a recommendation that the Assembly consider certain amendments in relation to the provision of advice and support to the Speaker in the exercise of her functions. I note that the bill directly reflects this recommendation but with relevant amendments proposed across individual acts establishing the Clerk and the officers of the Assembly. In view of the breadth of the Speaker’s responsibilities in relation to the officers of the Assembly, the government fully endorsees the provision of advice and support to assist the Speaker in meeting these responsibilities.
Also in August 2016 the Eighth Assembly Standing Committee on Public Accounts presented a report on the strategic review of the Auditor-General. The report specifically considered a term of appointment for the Auditor-General and recommended a legislative seven-year, non-renewable term. The government agreed to this recommendation, which is reflected in the bill before us today.
The bill also addresses Assembly standing committee considerations of appointments of the Clerk and the officers of the Assembly. This matter was not explicitly raised as part of the strategic review but is certainly worthy of consideration in the context of other matters relating to the officers of the Assembly.
The government supports these amendments, noting that they further strengthen the relevant appointment processes. I thank the Speaker for her work on the bill, and I am pleased to support it.
MR WALL (Brindabella) (3.15): Mrs Dunne did have carriage of this bill for the opposition, but as she and Mr Steel are away at the annual CPA conference I will take carriage on behalf of the opposition. The opposition will be supporting the Legislative Assembly Legislation Amendment Bill. The need for these amendments arose when Mrs Dunne was Speaker in the last Assembly. They emerged after the amendments which were made to establish the officers of the Legislative Assembly came into effect on 1 July 2014. The officers of the Legislative Assembly are the Clerk of the Assembly, the Auditor-General, the ACT Electoral Commissioner and the ACT Ombudsman.
During Mrs Dunne’s tenure in the Speaker’s office she became responsible for the appointment of an electoral commissioner, the chair of the Electoral Commission, a member of the Electoral Commission, a strategic reviewer for the Audit Office and an independent auditor of the Audit Office. In following the process involved it became apparent that some changes were needed to clarify the role of the Speaker vis-a-vis those of relevant Assembly committees. Mrs Dunne therefore put in place a process to identify and consider those matters as well as some other tangential matters that emerged in that period. This bill, which the Speaker introduced to the Assembly on 14 September, brings together those matters. Hopefully, these amendments will help to clarify the Speaker’s job both now and into the future.