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Parliamentary Budget Office Bill 2011

2010-2011

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

Parliamentary Budget Office Bill 2011

 

No.      , 2011

 

(Mr Hockey)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to establish the Parliamentary Budget Office, and for related purposes

   

   

   



Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                              1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 1

3............ Object.................................................................................................. 2

4............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

Part 2—The Parliamentary Budget Officer                                                           4

Division 1—Establishment and independence                                                  4

5............ Establishment...................................................................................... 4

6............ Independence of the Parliamentary Budget Officer............................. 4

Division 2—Functions of the Parliamentary Budget Officer                   6

7............ Functions............................................................................................ 6

8............ Parliamentary Budget Officer to have regard to priorities of Parliament.. 6

9............ Information-gathering powers and secrecy......................................... 7

10.......... General powers................................................................................... 7

11.......... Flexibility and range of working methods in performance of functions 7

Division 3—Operational plans                                                                                  8

12.......... Operational plans................................................................................ 8

13.......... Variation of operational plans............................................................. 9

14.......... Compliance with plans........................................................................ 9

Division 4—Appointment and conditions                                                          10

15.......... Appointment..................................................................................... 10

16.......... Selection............................................................................................ 10

17.......... Acting Parliamentary Budget Officer................................................ 11

18.......... Remuneration and allowances........................................................... 11

19.......... Leave of absence............................................................................... 12

20.......... Disclosure of interests....................................................................... 12

21.......... Outside employment......................................................................... 12

22.......... Other terms and conditions............................................................... 12

23.......... Resignation....................................................................................... 12

24.......... Termination of appointment.............................................................. 13

Part 3—Parliamentary Budget Office                                                                      14

25.......... Establishment.................................................................................... 14

26.......... Constitution of the PBO.................................................................... 14

27.......... Function of the PBO......................................................................... 14

28.......... Location of the PBO......................................................................... 14

29.......... Staff.................................................................................................. 14

30.......... Consultants....................................................................................... 15

31.......... Delegation by Parliamentary Budget Officer..................................... 15

Part 4—Miscellaneous                                                                                                        16

32.......... Appropriation.................................................................................... 16

33.......... Authorised committee may request draft estimates for PBO............. 17

34.......... Guaranteed availability of parliamentary appropriations.................... 17

35.......... Parliamentary Budget Officer may approve expenditure................... 17

36.......... Indemnity.......................................................................................... 17

37.......... Annual report.................................................................................... 18

38.......... Delegation......................................................................................... 18

39.......... Determinations.................................................................................. 18

Schedule 1—Information gathering powers and secrecy   19

1............ Relationship of information-gathering powers with other laws......... 19

2............ Purpose for which information-gathering powers may be used........ 19

3............ Power of Parliamentary Budget Officer to obtain information.......... 19

4............ Confidentiality of information........................................................... 20

5............ Sensitive information not to be included in reports........................... 21

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to establish the Parliamentary Budget Office, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:



Schedule 1 Information gathering powers and secrecy

   

1   Relationship of information-gathering powers with other laws

                   The operation of clause 3:

                     (a)  is limited by laws of the Commonwealth (whether made before or after the commencement of this Act) relating to the powers, privileges and immunities of:

                              (i)  each House of the Parliament; and

                             (ii)  the members of each House of the Parliament; and

                            (iii)  the committees of each House of the Parliament and joint committees of both Houses of the Parliament; but

                     (b)  is not limited by any other law (whether made before or after the commencement of this Act), except to the extent that the other law expressly excludes the operation of clause 3.

2   Purpose for which information-gathering powers may be used

                   The powers under clause 3 may be used for the purpose of, or in connection with, a function given to the Parliamentary Business Officer by this Act.

3   Power of Parliamentary Budget Officer to obtain information

             (1)  The Parliamentary Budget Officer may, by written notice, direct an employee of an agency to do all or any of the following:

                     (a)  to provide the Officer with any information that the Officer requires;

                     (b)  to attend and give evidence before the Officer or an authorised officer;

                     (c)  to produce to the Officer any documents in the custody or under the control of the employee.

Note:          A proceeding under paragraph (1)(b) is a “judicial proceeding” for the purposes of Part III of the Crimes Act 1914 . The Crimes Act prohibits certain conduct in relation to judicial proceedings.

             (2)  The Parliamentary Budget Officer may direct that:

                     (a)  the information or answers to questions be given either orally or in writing (as the Officer requires);

                     (b)  the information or answers to questions be verified or given on oath or affirmation.

The oath or affirmation is an oath or affirmation that the information or evidence the person will give will be true, and may be administered by the Officer or by an authorised officer.

             (3)  An employee of an agency must comply with a direction under this clause.

Penalty:  30 penalty units.

Note 1:       Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

Note 2:       Section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 sets the current value of a penalty unit.

             (4)  A determination under section 39 of this Act may prescribe scales of expenses to be allowed to persons who are required to attend under this clause.

             (5)  In this clause:

agency has the same meaning as in the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 .

authorised officer means a person who:

                     (a)  is an official within the meaning of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997; and

                     (b)  is authorised by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, in writing, to exercise powers or perform functions under this clause.

4   Confidentiality of information

             (1)  If a person has obtained information in the course of performing a function of the Parliamentary Budget Officer given by this Act or any other Act, the person must not disclose the information except in the course of performing a function given to the Parliamentary Budget Officer by this Act or another Act.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (2)  Subclause (1) does not prevent the Parliamentary Budget Officer from disclosing particular information to the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police if the Officer is of the opinion that the disclosure is in the public interest.

5   Sensitive information not to be included in reports

             (1)  The Parliamentary Budget Officer must not include particular information in a report or advice if:

                     (a)  the Officer is of the opinion that disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest for any of the reasons set out in subclause (2); or

                     (b)  the Attorney-General has issued a certificate to the Officer stating that, in the opinion of the Attorney-General, disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest for any of the reasons set out in subclause (2).

             (2)  The reasons are the following:

                     (a)  it would prejudice the security, defence or international relations of the Commonwealth;

                     (b)  it would involve the disclosure of deliberations or decisions of the Cabinet or of a Committee of the Cabinet;

                     (c)  it would prejudice relations between the Commonwealth and a State;

                     (d)  it would divulge any information or matter that was communicated in confidence by the Commonwealth to a State, or by a State to the Commonwealth;

                     (e)  it would unfairly prejudice the commercial interests of any body or person;

                      (f)  any other reason that could form the basis for a claim by the Crown in right of the Commonwealth in a judicial proceeding that the information should not be disclosed.

             (3)  The Parliamentary Budget Officer cannot be required, and is not permitted, to disclose to:

                     (a)  a House of the Parliament; or

                     (b)  a member of a House of the Parliament; or

                     (c)  a committee of a House of the Parliament or a joint committee of both Houses of the Parliament;

information that subclause (1) prohibits being included in a report or advice.

             (4)  In this clause:

State includes a self-governing Territory.