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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9165


Mr GRAY (BrandSpecial Minister of State and Minister for the Public Service and Integrity) (18:54): I present a supplementary explanatory memorandum to the bill and seek leave of the House to move government amendments (1) to (28), as circulated, together.

Leave granted.

Mr GRAY: I move government amendments (1) to (28):

(1) Schedule 1, heading to Part 10, page 31 (line 1), omit "Temporary", substitute "Non-ongoing".

(2) Schedule 1, items 57 to 60, page 31 (lines 3 to 15), omit the items.

(3) Schedule 1, item 61, page 31 (lines 16 to 24), omit the item, substitute:

61 Subsection 22(4)

Omit "limit", substitute "prescribe".

(4) Schedule 1, item 62, page 31 (line 28), omit "temporary", substitute "non-ongoing".

(5) Schedule 1, item 63, page 32 (line 2), omit "temporary", substitute "non-ongoing".

(6) Schedule 1, item 70, page 35 (line 19), omit "his or her".

(7) Schedule 1, item 70, page 35 (line 20), omit "his or her".

(8) Schedule 1, item 70, page 36 (line 4), omit "with:", insert "with, the performance of functions or duties, or the exercise of powers, under this Act or the regulations.".

(9) Schedule 1, item 70, page 36 (lines 5 to 10), omit paragraphs 72A(3)(a) and (b).

(10) Schedule 1, item 70, page 37 (line 7), omit "his or her".

(11) Schedule 1, item 70, page 37 (line 8), omit "his or her".

(12) Schedule 1, item 70, page 37 (line 31), omit "his or her".

(13) Schedule 1, item 70, page 37 (line 32), omit "his or her".

(14) Schedule 1, item 70, page 38 (line 12), omit "with:", insert "with, the performance of functions or duties, or the exercise of powers, under this Act or the regulations.".

(15) Schedule 1, item 70, page 38 (lines 13 to 18), omit paragraphs 72B(3)(a) and (b).

(16) Schedule 1, item 70, page 39 (line 18), omit "his or her".

(17) Schedule 1, item 70, page 39 (line 19), omit "his or her".

(18) Schedule 1, item 72, page 44 (line 17), after "the person in", insert "connection with".

(19) Schedule 1, item 72, page 45 (line 6), after "the person in", insert "connection with".

(20) Schedule 3, item 8, page 53 (lines 16 and 17), omit the item.

(21) Schedule 3, items 10 and 11, page 53 (lines 20 to 26), omit the items.

(22) Schedule 4, heading to Part 9, page 75 (line 1), omit "Temporary", substitute "Non-ongoing".

(23) Schedule 4, items 32 and 33, page 75 (line 2) to page 76 (line 7), omit the items.

(24) Schedule 4, item 34, page 76 (lines 8 to 31), omit the item, substitute:

34 Saving—circumstances for engagement of non-ongoing APS employees

(1) This item applies in relation to a person if:   (a) the person had been engaged before the commencement time as mentioned in paragraph 22(2)(b) or (c) of the old Public Service Act; and   (b) the engagement:      (i) was in effect immediately before the commencement time and was to continue in effect after that time; or      (ii) was to take effect after the commencement time.

(2) Despite the amendment made by item 61 of Schedule 1 to this Act, subsection 22(4) of the old Public Service Act (and the regulations in force for the purposes of that subsection) continue to apply, at and after the commencement time, in relation to the person's engagement.

(25) Schedule 4, item 35, page 77 (line 7), omit "the amendments made by items 62 and 63", substitute "the amendment made by item 62".

(26) Schedule 4, item 36, page 77 (line 11), omit "temporary", substitute "non-ongoing".

(27) Schedule 4, item 36, page 77 (line 15), omit "temporary", substitute "non-ongoing".

(28) Schedule 4, item 36, page 77 (lines 17 to 19), omit subitem (2).

The Public Service Amendment Bill 2012 amends the Public Service Act 1999 to provide for a modern, contemporary employment framework for the Australian Public Service. The government proposes two further amendments. The first relates to part 10 of schedule 1 of the bill, which concerns temporary employees. The second is a technical amendment concerning the protection of information and immunity from civil suit provisions in parts 12 and 13 of schedule 1, respectively.

Part 10 of schedule 1 of the bill amends the provisions concerning the engagement of Australian Public Service employees. The bill as introduced includes amendments that provide that agencies may engage persons as temporary rather than ongoing employees, with the subcategories of temporary employment being prescribed in regulations. The amendments moved today will restore the provisions currently found in section 22(2) of the Public Service Act, which provide for subcategories of non-ongoing employment. Under the act, a non-ongoing Australian Public Service employee may be employed for a specified term, for the duration of a specified task or for duties that are irregular or intermittent. The bill will continue to provide for regulations to be made to prescribe rather than limit the circumstances under which a non-ongoing employee may be engaged and to continue to prescribe grounds applicable to the termination of employment of a non-ongoing employee.

Part 12 of schedule 1 of the bill is intended to protect information obtained by the Public Service Commissioner or the Merit Protection Commissioner or other interested persons in the course of the commissioners' review and inquiry functions. The amendments moved today will make clear that information obtained by entrusted persons who are acting under the direction or authority of, or who are assisting, either of the commissioners is protected from unauthorised disclosure or use. The bill as currently drafted is ambiguous in this respect. It is important that these provisions operate as intended to ensure that inquiries are conducted properly and with the full cooperation of witnesses. The amendments to part 13 of schedule 1 of the bill also make clear that such persons are immune from civil proceedings when acting in good faith. I commend these amendments to the House.

Question agreed to.