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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1222


Mr GRAY (BrandSpecial Minister of State and Minister for the Public Service and Integrity) (16:41): I thank the honourable shadow minister for her contribution to this debate, and I also thank her for the work that was done to ensure that the Public Service Act—which is, as described by the shadow minister, a sister piece of legislation—was put together, importantly, in a bipartisan manner, and in a manner that allows public servants and, in the context of this bill, servants of the parliament to work knowing full well that the parliament itself fully, thoroughly and totally supports these pieces of legislation.

This bill amends the Parliamentary Services Act 1999, principally to effect the provisions of the Public Service Amendment Bill 2012, which has now passed both houses. The Public Service Amendment Bill gives effect to recommendations of the Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration in its report entitled Ahead of the game: blueprint for the reform of the Australian government administration. The bill reflects many of those changes as far as they are relevant to the Parliamentary Service, and also includes a small number of unrelated amendments. In summary, the main features of the bill are as follows: the bill expands the role and responsibilities of secretaries including the provision for a stewardship role for the Parliamentary Service; it revises the role of the senior executive service to reflect better their responsibilities for the wider Parliamentary Service; it includes a statement setting out the role of the Parliamentary Service in serving the parliament; it includes a clearer and shorter statement of the Parliamentary Service values; it includes amendments relating to the Parliamentary Service code of conduct, the Parliamentary Service Commissioner and the Parliamentary Service Merit Protection Commissioner; and it includes provisions in relation to whistleblowing.

The bill will ensure that the Parliamentary Services Act maintains its alignment with the Public Service Act where relevant, while incorporating appropriate modifications which reflect the difference in the role, scale and structure of the Parliamentary Service by comparison with the Australian Public Service. These are important amendments to help ensure that the Parliamentary Service continues to be able to serve the Australian parliament and, through it, the Australian people in a professional and non-partisan manner. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.