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Thursday, 4 December 1986
Page: 3363


Senator VIGOR(1.39) —by leave-I move:

(1) Page 23, clause 41, after proposed new section 50DB, insert the following new section:

``Rotation of Departmental nominees

`` `50DBA. In nominating a person for the purposes of paragraph 50DA (5) (b) or 50DB (4) (b) or (10) (a), a Secretary shall ensure so far as possible that a person is not nominated as a member of successive Committees or successive Committees constituted for the purpose of filling the same vacancy or a vacancy in the same office.''.

(2) Page 24, clause 41, after proposed new sub- section 50DC (2), insert the following new sub-section:

`` `(2A) Subject to sub-section (2), a Joint Selection Committee shall conduct its proceedings in accordance with such guidelines, not inconsistent with this Act, as are prescribed.''.

(3) Page 32, after clause 68, insert the following new clause:

``Retirement of Secretaries of Departments on grounds of inefficiency or incapacity

``68A Section 76D of the Principal Act is amended by inserting after sub-section (1) the following sub-section:

`(1A) Where, on application by the Secretary or otherwise, an authorised medical practitioner has recommended that a Secretary should, because of physical or mental incapacity, be retired from the Service, the Board may, with the consent of the Secretary, report to the Governor-General under sub-section (1) that the Secretary is, because of physical or mental incapacity, incapable of performing his or her duties.'.''.

(4) Page 34, clause 75, lines 1 to 4, leave out the clause, insert the following clause:

``Retirement with consent of officer on grounds of invalidity

``75. Section 76N of the Principal Act is amended by omitting sub-section (1) and substituting the following sub-section:

`(1) Where, on application by the Senior Executive Service officer or otherwise, an authorised medical practitioner has recommended that a Senior Executive Service officer should, because of physical or mental incapacity, be retired from the Service, the Board may, with the consent of the officer, retire the officer from the Service on a day to be specified by the Board.'.''.

(5) Page 38, clause 78, after proposed new section 76W, insert the following new section:

``Retirement with consent of officer on grounds of invalidity

`` ` 76WA. (1) Where, on application by the officer or otherwise, an authorised medical practitioner has recommended that an officer should, because of physical or mental incapacity, be retired from the Service, the relevant Secretary may, with the consent of the officer, retire the officer from the Service on a day to be specified by the Secretary.

`(2) Where an officer is retired under sub-section (1), the day as from which the officer is retired may, with the consent of the officer, be a day that is earlier than the day on which the action to retire the officer was taken.''.

(6) Pages 53 and 54, Part VII, leave out the Part.

I am disappointed that both the Government and the Opposition have indicated that they are not going to support these amendments. The aim of the first amendment is to produce a more equitable situation in selection procedures. In particular, there is a need for the members of selection committees to be rotated to avoid the possibility of individuals becoming entrenched as the departmental member.

The second amendment seeks to give some guidelines to the joint selection committee for the rotation process that I have just mentioned. The third amendment concerns the retirement of senior people on grounds of inefficiency or incapacity, which I mentioned in some detail during the second reading debate. The fourth amendment deals with retirement with the consent of an officer on grounds of invalidity. It basically allows this process to take place by agreement between the persons concerned without all the paraphernalia which would otherwise be involved if the officer were not given the option of opting out on these grounds. This is also the case in respect of amendment 5.

I have moved these amendments on behalf of the Australian Democrats because I believe they improve the Public Service Legislation (Streamlining) Bill 1986 and increase its equity. However, in the interests of getting this legislation passed without any undue delay and bearing in mind that we also would like to get the legislation accepted, we will not be forcing a division.