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Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Page: 8040

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (17:24): I move:

That the amendments be agreed to.

The government supports the amendments that were moved by both the opposition and the Australian Greens. The Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee report on the National Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 commented that a waiting period before former politicians and senior staffers become eligible for public appointment would be appropriate. A waiting period would be consistent with other Australian government policies such as the Lobbying Code of Conduct, which provides that former ministers and parliamentary secretaries may not engage in lobbying activities relating to any matter with which they had official dealings within 18 months of leaving office and a 12-month waiting period for former political staff agency heads, senior public servants and others.

The Australian Greens have advised that their proposed amendment works in conjunction with the opposition's amendment. This amendment strengthens the statement of reasons that must be tabled in parliament by the executive if any person, other than a former politician or senior staff member, is recommended for appointment by the Prime Minister or a minister, as the case requires. This is consistent with the government's commitment to strengthen the independence and integrity of the ABC and SBS boards and to facilitate greater transparency and parliamentary scrutiny of the selection and appointment of candidates to the boards.