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Monday, 17 June 2013
Page: 5782


Mr OAKESHOTT (Lyne) (13:13): Very quickly, I speak in support of both the process of the formation of this legislation and the legislation itself. The Commonwealth Financial Accountability Review is an important reform for Australia's public sector and it certainly looks to be broadly supported by key stakeholders and political parties, despite some of the words in this debate.

I understand we are going to have a division shortly, and my understanding is that that is with regard to a level of nervousness in the timing of this legislation being presented to the parliament and a level of nervousness in the transition from the general concept of reform and the principles based legislative framework that has broad support to that next stage of the detailed rules.

I concur with some of the nervousness raised that these stages of transition need to be handled carefully, with ongoing time for listening to and talking to all the 196 affected Commonwealth entities and that that is an ongoing process and priority, also ensuring that this parliament is fully informed over the coming stages. There have been commitments given by the finance minister and the finance department regarding the development of the rules in detail along with ongoing consultation that has many nervous. Those commitments are acknowledged by government and the finance minister. They acknowledge that it will be critical to the success or failure of these important reforms that there is ongoing consultation and ongoing consideration of this transition from the principle based legislative framework through to the detailed stage of rules and regulations.

I am not one to stand in this chamber and try to have it both ways. I am not going to stand in this chamber and say there is a problem with efficiency and productivity in Australia's public sector and I am not going to stand here and say I want fewer regulations, I want better regulations, I want better risk management, I want greater autonomy in the 196 agencies in Australia's public sector and then vote against it. I am going to vote for it. I am going to place markers certainly in this chamber to say that, yes, we want to make sure we remain engaged in the process and that all agencies and bodies remain engaged in the process. But the principles are broadly supported by every single person in this chamber and therefore I cannot understand why we are about to have a division. If it is about nervousness then stay engaged in the process of transition.

This chamber regularly deals with pieces of legislation that are about the principles, about the framework, with the regulations and the rules that then follow on from that. This is no different. So I would encourage the chamber to stay engaged with this legislation as it passes through this House as the start of the process of a better Public Service, fewer regulations, better regulations, better risk management, greater autonomy and everything that I hear debated in this chamber on a daily basis. Let's stay engaged in that process, but let's not kill the process because of some sort of nervousness that people have not been engaged in the finer detail to date. I say: let's support this legislation and keep government honest in the delivery of it.