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Tuesday, 15 October 1974
Page: 1711


The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted? There being no dissent, leave is granted. (The document read as follows)-

I present a Bill to be known as the Remuneration Tribunals Bill 1974. This Bill, which will amend the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973, has 4 major purposes. First, the Bill expands the formal jurisdiction of the Remuneration Tribunal beyond the limits set in the present Act, to give full effect to the Government's policy that the Tribunal should fix the remuneration for all senior public offices in the Australian Government area. At present the Act provides for the Tribunal to determine the salaries of statutory office holders, but does not give it power over many similar positions which have in the past been dealt with by the same salary-fixing procedures as statutory office holders. Examples are the various offices which were included in the indicative determination which formed part of the Tribunal's 1974 review. They included, amongst others, the General Manager of Qantas Airways Ltd, the Chiefs of Staff and the heads of several interim bodies for which statutory provision was to be made.

Second, besides expanding the jurisdiction of the Tribunal the Bill lists several groups with which the Tribunal is not intended to deal as they do not form a part of the higher salaries group and their remuneration has been fixed by other procedures. These groups include for instance, the Trade Commissioner Service, which ought not to be in the Tribunal's jurisdiction but which falls within it at present. Thirdly, the Bill clarifies a number of miscellaneous issues which have so far arisen from the application of the principal Act. Finally, the Bill inserts a new Part in the principal Act providing for the establishment of an academic salaries tribunal along the lines announced by the Government in April. The Tribunal will have the power to determine salaries for universities and colleges of advanced education established by law in the territories and will recommend the rates of salaries which should be used as a basis for grants to the States.

I turn now to the detail of the Bill. Clause 6 amends section 3 of the principal Act to expand and clarify the jurisdiction of the Remuneration

Tribunal along the lines I have described. It lists the various categories of public office with which the Tribunal is to be required to deal, in addition to offices in the First Division of the Public Service, under section 7(3) of the principal Act. Besides setting out these categories the Bill makes provision for additional offices or appointments to be prescribed by regulations. Clause 6 goes on to list offices for which the Tribunal will not have power to determine remuneration; in general these are less senior appointments. There is also provision for prescription by regulation of any other offices which should be excluded from the Tribunal 's jurisidiction

Clause 7 amends section 4 of the principal Act. It relaxes the very stringent conditions governing eligibility for membership of the Remuneration Tribunal. As the Act stands at present, a person cannot be appointed to the Tribunal if he has at any time served in one of the offices within the Tribunal's jurisdiction. The Bill provides that a person should be disqualified for membership only if he has served in a relevant office within the previous 7 years. Clause 7 also provides that a member of the Tribunal shall not be appointed as chairman if he has in the past 7 years been a member of the full time staff of a university or college of advanced education. This provision is included because the Chairman of the Remuneration Tribunal will be constituted as the Academic Salaries Tribunal.

Clause 8 amends section 6 of the principal Act which deals with judges and Ministers of State. Its purpose is to include with judges, persons who have the same status by virtue of an Act. This means that the Tribunal will report on the remuneration of such persons rather than determine it. This provision has been introduced to cover the case of the President and Deputy Presidents of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. There is no constitutional obstacle to the Tribunal having power to determine salaries for these people but it is desirable for the sake of consistency that they should be considered by the Tribunal in conjunction with judges. Clause 8 also revises the existing provision in section 6 of the principal Act dealing with matters 'significantly related to remuneration'. It authorises the Tribunal to inquire into matters which are, or which it considers to be, significantly related to the remuneration of Ministers and judges either on its own initiative or at the request of the Minister.

Clause 9 amends section 7 of the principal Act which gives the Tribunal power to determine remuneration for parliamentarians, First Division officers and statutory office-holders. It introduces a revised provision dealing with 'significantly related' matters similar to that in clause 8. It also provides that where a body has funds available for the payment of remuneration they shall be used for this purpose. The principal Act at present provides that remuneration in every case be paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund and this is inconsistent with long standing arrangements for a number of companies and statutory corporations. Clause 9 also provides that members of Parliament or candidates for election will not be entitled to any remuneration for holding a public office, that persons in the full-time service of Australia will not receive payment for holding a part-time office except as prescribed, and that the holders of judicial offices in the States and other countries will not receive remuneration except as prescribed.

Clause 10 amends section 8 of the principal Act to make an exception from the general rule that the Tribunal must deal at the one time with all the offices in its jurisdiction. It provides for the Tribunal to make individual determinations for new offices and offices whose functions have substantially changed since the Tribunal last reported.

Clause 1 1 amends the principal Act by the insertion of a new Part establishing the Academic Salaries Tribunal. As I said earlier the Academic Salaries Tribunal will be constituted by the Chairman of the Remuneration Tribunal. There is provision for appointment of assessors. The Tribunal will deal with academic staff in universities and colleges of advanced education. As I indicated earlier it will determine salaries for academic staff in institutions established by the laws of Australia in the territories. It will also report on the rates of salaries for academic staff in other institutions of tertiary education and recommend the rates to be used for making grants to the States.

Besides considering academic salaries, the Tribunal may report on the salaries of vice chancellors, principals, other chief executive officers, and other senior officers such as registrars and bursars in universities and colleges of advanced education. The procedures relating to the Tribunal's determinations will be the same as for the remuneration tribunal. The Minister will arrange for a copy of each determination to be laid before each House within 15 sitting days of receipt by him and either House will be able to disallow any determination within 15 sitting days after a copy has been laid before it. The Tribunal itself will have power to decide when to make reports and determinations. The provisions relating to methods of inquiry by the Tribunal are the same as for the Remuneration Tribunal. I commend the Bill to the Senate.







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