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Part 8—Independent Parliamentary Advisor

Part 8 Independent Parliamentary Advisor

Division 1 Introduction

116   Guide to this Part

This Division is about the role of the Independent Parliamentary Advisor in providing advice about compliance with applicable codes of conduct and other matters to ministers, parliamentarians, former parliamentarians, committees and presiding officers.

Division 2 Requests for advice

117   Minister may request advice

             (1)  A minister may request advice from the Independent Parliamentary Advisor about his or her compliance with an applicable code of conduct, whether the request for advice relates to an issue that arose before or after the commencement of this Act.

             (2)  A request for advice must be in writing.

             (3)  A request for advice must be about a matter relating to the minister requesting the advice or a family member of the minister.

118   Presiding officer or chair of committee may request advice

             (1)  A presiding officer or a chair of a committee of a House of the Parliament may request advice from the Independent Parliamentary Advisor about any relevant matter, including the development of a code of conduct for parliamentarians of that House.

             (2)  A request for advice must be in writing.

119   Parliamentarian or former parliamentarian may request advice

             (1)  A parliamentarian or a former parliamentarian may request advice from the Independent Parliamentary Advisor about:

                     (a)  an applicable code of conduct;

                     (b)  parliamentary allowances;

                     (c)  an interest, including a potential conflict of interest;

                     (d)  an ethical issue;

                     (e)  a matter of propriety, including the receipt of a gift;

                      (f)  any similar issue;

whether the request for advice relates to an issue that arose before or after the commencement of this Act

             (2)  A request for advice must be in writing.

             (3)  A request for advice must be about a matter relating to:

                     (a)  the parliamentarian or the former parliamentarian requesting the advice; or

                     (b)  a family member of the parliamentarian or the former parliamentarian requesting the advice; or

                     (c)  a person employed or formerly employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 by the parliamentarian or the former parliamentarian.

120   Independent Parliamentary Advisor to provide advice in writing

                   The Independent Parliamentary Advisor may only provide written advice in response to a request under section 117, 118 or 119.

121   Independent Parliamentary Advisor may request additional information

             (1)  Before providing written advice in response to a request under section 117, 118 or 119, the Independent Parliamentary Advisor may request additional information from the person who made the request.

             (2)  A request made under subsection (1) must explain how the additional information relates to the original request for written advice.

             (3)  If:

                     (a)  a request is made under subsection (1); and

                     (b)  the Independent Parliamentary Advisor:

                              (i)  does not receive the additional information; or

                             (ii)  is unable to provide the written advice because the additional information is insufficient for the Independent Parliamentary Advisor to form an opinion on the matter;

then, in lieu of the written advice, the Independent Parliamentary Advisor must provide a written statement to the person who requested the advice that Independent Parliamentary Advisor was unable to prepare the advice because of insufficient information.

Division 3 Reporting

122   Annual report

             (1)  The Independent Parliamentary Advisor must give:

                     (a)  the President of the Senate for presentation to the Senate; and

                     (b)  the Speaker of the House of Representatives for presentation to the House of Representatives;

a report (the annual report ) on the performance of the independent parliamentary advisor functions during each financial year.

Note:          See also section 34C of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 , which contains extra rules about annual reports.

             (2)  A report under subsection (1) must include:

                     (a)  information about the number of times written advice was prepared by the Independent Parliamentary Advisor, including information about the number of times written advice related to:

                              (i)  an applicable code of conduct or a part thereof; or

                             (ii)  a particular type of gift; or

                            (iii)  a particular type of interest; and

                     (b)  the general nature of the written advice that was prepared by the Independent Parliamentary Advisor.

             (3)  Information under subsection (2) must not be included in a report under subsection (1) if including that information might identify the person who made a request for advice.

Division 4 Better practices guides and fact sheets

123   Better practices guides and fact sheets

                   In accordance with the independent parliamentary advisor functions, the Independent Parliamentary Advisor may promote better practice in relation to matters of conduct, propriety and ethics for ministers, parliamentarians, former parliamentarians and persons employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 by preparing and disseminating better practice guides and fact sheets those persons.