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Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Amendment Bill 2013

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2010-2011-2012-2013

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Amendment Bill 2013

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Honourable Simon Crean MP, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government)

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (SELF-GOVERNMENT) AMENDMENT BILL 2013

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 (Cth) (the Act) to grant the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly (the Assembly) the power to determine its own numbers without requiring the Commonwealth to amend its legislation to enact any changes to the size of the Assembly.

The Act currently requires the Assembly to pass a resolution and then have the Commonwealth make regulations to change the size of the Assembly from the specified number of members under subsection 8(2) of the Act. 

 

The Bill provides that any enactment made by the Assembly for the purpose of determining the size of the Assembly will additionally require the approval of a two-thirds majority of the total number of members of the Assembly to come into effect.

 

This Bill does not change the size of the Assembly. It amends the mechanism by which the size of the Assembly can be changed. This Bill effectively removes the Commonwealth’s role in the process of amending the size of the Assembly, and provides the Assembly the power to independently fulfil this function.

This Bill acknowledges the capacity of the Assembly to run its own affairs by granting it increased legislative autonomy, consistent with the success of its self-governance.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

Nil



 

Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

Item 1

 

This item repeals subsections 8(2) and 8(3) of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 , which provided that the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly (the Assembly) was to consist of 17 members, and that the number of members could only be modified through Commonwealth regulations which receive support from the Assembly.

This Bill repeals subsections 8(2) and (3) and substitutes with the following:

             (2)  The Assembly is to consist of:

                     (a)  such number of members as is provided by enactment (subject to subsection (3)); or

                     (b)  until provision is made—17 members.

             (3)  An enactment providing for the number of members of the Assembly (or an enactment amending or repealing such an enactment) has no effect unless it is passed by a number of members at least equal to two-thirds of the number of members provided for, at that time, by or in accordance with subsection (2).

This Bill provides that an enactment affecting the number of members of the Assembly, (or amending or repealing such an enactment) will only take effect once it is passed by at least two-thirds of the total number of members of the Assembly. The requirements for a special majority, and that majority being of the total number of members of the Assembly rather than those members present for the vote, promotes the need for bipartisan support for such changes to the governance of the Australian Capital Territory.

 

This Bill also includes subsection 8(4), which clarifies that section 26 of the Act was considered as a mechanism to effect the special majority.  To achieve a specified majority pursuant to s26 of the Act, the ACT Government would be required to conduct a referendum of ACT voters.  Subsection 8(3) was determined to be the most effective and cost-efficient mechanism to achieve the desired outcome.

 



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

The Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Amendment Bill 2013 grants the Australian Capital Territory grants the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly the power to independently determine and amend its own numbers and removes the Commonwealth role in the process.

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms and is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.



 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short Title

 

1.       This is a formal provision specifying the short title.

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

2.       This clause provides that the Act will commence the day after the Act receives Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedules

 

3.       This clause provides that an Act that is specified in a Schedule to the Act is amended or repealed as set out in that Schedule, and any other item in a Schedule operates according to its terms.