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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1295


Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (20:36): by leave—In respect of the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority Bill 2017, I move NXT amendments (1) to (6) on sheet 8078:

(1) Clause 6, page 10 (line 23), omit "4 offices", substitute "5 offices".

(2) Clause 10, page 12 (line 28), omit paragraph (c), substitute:

(c) at least 3, and not more than 4, other members.

(3) Clause 15, page 20 (line 6), omit paragraph (c), substitute:

(c) at least 3, and not more than 4, other members.

(4) Clause 16, page 20 (after line 22), after subclause (4), insert:

(4A) One appointed member of the Authority must be a person (the community member) who the Minister is satisfied represents community expectations about the ethical standards to be followed by members of parliament in the use of public money.

(5) Clause 16, page 20 (line 23), omit "5 members", substitute "6 members".

(6) Clause 16, page 21 (line 4), omit "subsection (2), (3) or (4)", substitute "subsection (2), (3), (4) or (4A)".

This amendment was originated in the House of Representatives by our colleague the member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie MP. It is a good initiative to increase the number of officers in the authority by one member, a community member, who the minister is satisfied represents community expectations about the ethical standards to be followed by members of parliament in the use of public money. My colleague Rebekha Sharkie, the Member for Mayo, outlined the fact that this authority obviously does have people with expertise—a former politician, for instance—but we say there ought to be a community member on there. A community member who can represent broader community interests and, for want of a better term, who can interpret the pub test or the cafe test or whatever test you want to put—but the test of reasonable community expectations. It would broaden out the membership of the authority. I understand that in the other place the Australian Greens supported the amendment, and the member for Indi as well, but that the major parties did not. If the position has changed I would like to know. It is not our intention to divide on this amendment, but the point we wish to make is that we think there is real scope to improve this authority by having that level of committee representation.