Page 4831 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 27 November 2018

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Members would be aware—indeed, the broader community would be aware—that the establishment of a national integrity commission is currently being very rigorously debated in the commonwealth parliament. There are certainly a broad range of opportunities open to different levels of government to ensure that ACT Policing is covered by a strong integrity framework.

The ACT has, over the past several months, been actively pursuing a commitment from the current federal government to amend the ACT self-government act to allow commission coverage of ACT Policing. However, progress at the federal level on integrity matters is somewhat slow, so I am yet to receive any formal agreement from the current Prime Minister about these necessary amendments. While this amendment does not appear to have been a high federal priority thus far, we will continue to negotiate to amend relevant commonwealth legislation to include ACT Policing within the scope of the ACT integrity commission. The commencement provisions in the exposure draft have been delayed by 12 months to allow for these negotiations to progress.

Madam Speaker, members will also be aware that on 23 November this year the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety released the scrutiny report on the draft Integrity Commission Bill 2018. The government has considered the issues raised by the standing committee, primarily around the potential limitation of rights under the Human Rights Act 2004 and some significant procedural fairness and natural justice matters. I can advise that the government has agreed with the committee’s recommendations. These issues that have been raised are significant, and amendments are incorporated into the tabled bill. Of course, we will go into further detail in the debate on the bill on Thursday.

I have placed on the public record a number of times that, subject to the views of the Assembly, it is the government’s intention that standing orders be suspended on Thursday to allow for this bill to be debated, so I will be seeking the Assembly’s support to allow the bill to be passed this week. Debate and passage of the bill this year will allow recruitment to commence for key roles within the commission. This in turn gives the commission the best opportunity to commence full operations by mid-2019. As evidenced by the early funding appropriation, the government is determined to allow the commission to become operational as quickly as possible.

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the select committee once again for its comprehensive and constructive reports. I would also like to thank members of the Assembly for their commitment to further strengthening public confidence in parliamentary and public sector integrity.

It goes without saying that it has been an enormous effort to produce a government bill of such complexity within such a short period of time, incorporating recommendations from two detailed select committee reports, and with such strong Assembly stakeholder interest. I would certainly contrast the approach here in the ACT with what is playing out federally at the moment on exactly the same issues. They are exactly the same issues, yet we have been able, through a collegiate and collaborative approach, to work together to produce a very detailed piece of

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