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Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Page: 10254

Mr SIDEBOTTOM (BraddonParliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (19:35): Good evening, colleagues. Listening to the member for Hinkler, the member for Canberra and the member for Fraser makes you reflect on the fact that Labor has a proud tradition in the arts, and the bills that we are discussing tonight are part of that proud history—indeed, even more so leading into the centenary of Canberra in 2013.

It gives me great pleasure to represent the Minister for the Arts this evening, the Hon. Simon Crean. I also have a great appreciation of the arts. My great passion in life is directing musicals. In fact, I have directed 19, and I am looking forward to my 20th, which will be an Australian premiere in two years time. I am rather busy in the meantime! Anyway, I am looking forward to it and I hope you can all come and see it. On behalf of the minister, I would like to thank all honourable members for their contributions to the debate on these very important pieces of legislation.

As the minister said when he introduced the National Portrait Gallery of Australia Bill 2012 and the National Portrait Gallery of Australia (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2012 into the parliament, the passage of these bills will enable the home of the national portrait collection to develop and flourish as one of Australia's pre-eminent cultural institutions. This legislation will enshrine the functions of the gallery for the first time, giving it a clear and coherent purpose, and position it to attract more sponsorship and philanthropy.

It is worth looking at the functions in the bill. Among other things, and importantly, the bill will allow the gallery's functions to involve developing and engaging a national audience in relation to that collection and other works of art and related material that are or will be in the possession of the gallery, including through exhibitions, education, research, publications and public and online programs—in short, to share this fantastic gallery and all it contains with the rest of Australia. The bill also establishes the gallery as a body corporate, with a governing body consisting of a chair and deputy chair and between three and seven other members. The legislation enables the minister to appoint board members by written instrument. The bill provides that the minister will make the appointment of the first director of the gallery. The recruitment and appointment of the first director will ideally occur before 1 July 2013, to have effect on that day. Also among the provisions, the gallery staff will be engaged under the Public Service Act 1999. The legislation also provides for the employment of people on secondment from other Commonwealth, state or territory agencies, or indeed on contracts.

Minister Crean and those members who spoke on the legislation are no doubt excited by the potential of the Portrait Gallery to engage and enthral a national audience with its collection of portraits that encapsulate the essence of achievement and endeavour across Australia. The National Portrait Gallery of Australia will be—and is now—a source of great pride to all Australians and a lasting gift to Canberra in its centenary year.

The minister thanks all members who participated in the debate and thanks the House for the support of this significant legislation.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Grierson ): I put the question that these bills be now read a second time.

Question agreed to.

Bills read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.