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Thursday, 30 August 2001
Page: 30725

Mr CADMAN (10:38 AM) —What a day of brevity and unanimity it is in the chamber. This proposal really does change what was thought to be a permanent arrangement, but which is not accurately reflected in the legislation. The Parliamentary Service Amendment Bill 2001 proposes that a person engaged in the Parliamentary Service or in the Public Service can move from one to the other without penalty and that they, without giving formal notice, are deemed to have ceased employment and then can pick up their former career in their previous department. This provision is for that to occur without penalty to the individual. There are also provisions to make sure that, when the names of departments change, this can be accounted for without further amendments to the legislation.

The main provisions of this process apply to ministerial staff as well as to the staff of the parliament. The parliament in particular benefits from having people from outside on its staff. Often we are accused of being too closely aligned to the Public Service. Similar provisions could be put in place or could be considered for people from private enterprise or senior positions in business to take up positions on parliamentary staff. That would be valuable. I do not know how you write that sort of legislation but it would be by a matter of agreement with the private sector employer.

The provisions of the legislation also note that changes to the joint departments—not the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of the Senate, which are created in section 54 of the act and can be abolished or retitled, but other changes which may occur to the names of the departments—are accounted for. This is an excellent proposal. Both sides of the House agree with it and the government recommends it to the parliament.