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National Museum of Australia Amendment Bill 2001

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1998-1999-2000-2001

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIA AMENDMENT BILL 2000

 

 

 

 

REVISED EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator the Hon. Richard Alston, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts)

 

 

THIS EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM TAKES ACCOUNT OF AN AMENDMENT MADE BY THE SENATE TO THE BILL AS INTRODUCED

 



NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIA

AMENDMENT BILL 2000

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The National Museum of Australia Amendment Bill 2000 (the Bill) amends the National Museum of Australia Act 1980 (the Act):

(a)                 to enable the National Museum of Australia (the Museum) to exhibit material relating to Australia’s future as well as its past;

(b)                to confirm that the Museum has the power to engage in a range of commercial activities relating to its functions;

(c)                 to enable the Museum to charge fees and impose charges for services provided in relation to its functions;

(d)                to enable the Museum to raise funds for Museum purposes;

(e)                 to increase the value of historical material for which Ministerial approval is required before the material may be disposed of;

(f)                  to make a technical correction to paragraph 27(2)(e) of the Act; and

(g)                 to establish a Museum Fund into which may be paid gifts and bequests and money (other than trust money) received from the disposal of property, devises, bequests and assignments.

 

The Act establishes a museum of Australian history, comprehensively defined to include the natural history of Australia and the history of the interaction of people with the Australian natural environment.  The Australian natural environment includes all aspects of the surroundings of people in Australia, whether affecting them as individuals or in their social groupings.

 

The Museum is due to open in Canberra in March 2001.  The amendments contained in the Bill will amend the Act to ensure that a range of activities proposed by the Museum are within its powers.  These activities include charging for services provided by the Museum (such as guided tours, audio tours and lectures), undertaking fund raising activities and establishing a fund.

 

The Museum may wish to enter into arrangements with commercial sponsors which would give the sponsors naming rights in relation to the Museum or parts of its building, or particular exhibitions, in return for donations of cash, goods or services to the Museum.  To remove any doubt about the ability of the Museum to enter into such arrangements, the Bill amends the Act to provide that it is a function of the Museum to develop and implement sponsorship, marketing and other commercial activities relating to the Museum’s functions.

 

The Museum proposes to have a standing or permanent exhibition for children known as the kSpace which will involve a 3 dimensional experience relating to Australian cities of the future.  The Act currently enables the Museum to exhibit historical material and to hold temporary exhibitions of other material.  To give effect to the Museum’s proposal, and to enable the Museum to hold other permanent or long term exhibitions of matters which might fall outside the area of ‘historical material’, the amendments will expand the Museum’s existing functions to enable it to exhibit material (on a permanent or temporary basis) that relates to Australia’s present and future as well as its past.

 

An additional issue addressed by the Bill is the value of historical material for which Ministerial approval is required before disposal action can be undertaken.  The current statutory limit of $20,000 was set when the Act commenced and is to be increased to $250,000.  This proposed figure will better reflect current values and is consistent with the limit set out in paragraph 7A(1)(b) of the National Library Act 1960 .

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The Bill is not expected to have any financial impact on Commonwealth expenditure. 

 

The Museum has been set a revenue target of $4.2m in its first year.  The Bill enables the Museum to engage in a range of commercial activities which will allow the Museum to raise funds to meet this target.  It is not currently possible to estimate the amount the Museum will raise through commercial activities.  The Prime Minister has asked that a review of the Museum’s financial position be conducted 12 months after opening.

 



NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIA

AMENDMENT BILL 2000

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Clause 1 provides that the Bill, when enacted, may be cited as the National Museum of Australia Amendment Act 2000 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides that the Bill, when enacted, will commence on the day on which it receives Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

Clause 3 provides, in effect, that provisions in the National Museum of Australia Act 1980 (the Act) that are specified in Schedule 1 to the Bill are amended or repealed in accordance with the applicable items in the Schedule, and that other items in the Schedule have effect according to their terms.

 

Schedule 1 - Proposed amendments to the

National Museum of Australia Act 1980

 

Item 1 - Insertion of new paragraph 6(1)(baa)

 

Section 6 of the Act sets out the functions of the Museum.  These functions include exhibiting historical material (paragraph 6(1)(b)) and holding temporary exhibitions of other material (paragraph 6(1)(ba)).  ‘Historical material’ is defined in section 3 of the Act to mean material relating to Australian history.  ‘Australian history’ is separately defined in section 3 to include the natural history of Australia and the history of the interaction of people with the Australian natural environment.

 

The Museum proposes to have a standing or permanent exhibition for children known as the kSpace.  The kSpace is a 3 dimensional experience involving headsets, joysticks and a video representation of Australian cities of the future.

 

The reference in paragraph 6(1)(b) of the Act to historical material tends to suggest that exhibits must relate to the past, or the present, rather than the future.  Viewed in isolation, the kSpace might not relate strictly to ‘history’.  However, the presentation might fall within the functions of the Museum to the extent that it helped explore or illuminate previous trends in such things as urban planning and development.

 

Paragraph 6(1)(ba) of the Act provides for the exhibition of ‘material’ (as opposed to ‘historical material’) but this is only ‘from time to time as the occasion requires’, which suggests that the exhibition of material which is not ‘historical’ material is only meant to be on a short term basis.

 

It is therefore doubtful whether the Museum would have the power to exhibit material relating to the future (rather than the past) on an ongoing basis.

 

To address these issues, Item 1 inserts a new paragraph 6(1)(baa) into the Act.  This will enable the Museum to exhibit the kSpace and other permanent or long term exhibitions of matters which relate to Australia’s present and future as well as its past.

 

Items 2 and 3 - Amendment of paragraph 6(1)(c) and insertion of new paragraph 6(1)(e)

 

The Museum may wish to enter into arrangements with commercial sponsors which would give the sponsors naming rights in relation to the Museum or parts of its building, or particular exhibitions, in return for donations of cash, goods or services to the Museum.

 

Such arrangements would probably fall within the Museum’s powers in relation to exhibitions, and in relation to the receipt of donations (see section 7 of the Act).

 

However, to remove any doubt about the ability of the Museum to enter into such arrangements, item 3 inserts a new paragraph 6(1)(e) into the Act.  This new provision is based on paragraph 6(f) of the Australian National Maritime Museum Act 1990 .  It  provides that it is a function of the Museum to develop and implement sponsorship, marketing and other commercial activities relating to the Museum’s functions.

 

Item 2 makes a minor amendment to paragraph 6(1)(c) consequential on the amendment made by item 3.

 

Item 4 - Insertion of new paragraphs 7(2)(ja) and (jb)

 

Section 7 of the Act deals with the powers of the Museum.  Subsection 7(1) provides that, subject to the Act, the Museum has power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of its functions.  Without limiting the generality of subsection 7(1), subsection 7(2) sets out examples of powers of the Museum referred to in subsection 7(1).

 

Item 4 inserts 2 new powers into subsection 7(2):

 

(a)                 to enable the Museum to charge fees and impose charges for services provided in relation to its functions (new paragraph 7(2)(ja), based on paragraph 7(1)(u) of the Australian National Maritime Museum Act 1990 ); and



(b)                to enable the Museum to raise funds for Museum purposes (new paragraph 7(2)(jb), based on paragraph 7(1)(t) of the Australian National Maritime Museum Act 1990 ).

 

New paragraph 7(2)(ja) will enable the Museum to charge fees and impose charges for its services such as guided tours, audio tours and lectures.  Section 44 of the Act enables the making of regulations ‘for fixing charges for entry onto any land, or into any building, owned by, or under the control of, the Museum’, but contains no express power relating to the setting of other fees.  The charging of fees for services directly related to the Museum’s exhibition or dissemination of information functions (see subsection 6(1) of the Act) would probably fall within the ‘necessary or convenient’ power relating to those functions (see subsection 7(1) of the Act).  However, new paragraph 7(2)(ja) will remove any doubt about the power of the Museum to impose such charges.

 

The Museum could actively seek to raise funds for Museum purposes such as through the holding of events.  The ability of the Museum to do this would probably fall within the power in paragraph 7(2)(c) of the Act to ‘accept gifts, devises, bequests or assignments made to the Museum’.  However, new paragraph 7(2)(jb) will remove any doubt about the power of the Museum to undertake fund raising activities for Museum purposes.

 

Items 5 and 6 - Amendment of paragraphs 9(4)(b) and 9A(3)(b)

 

Subsection 9(4) of the Act provides that the Museum may dispose of historical material in the national historical collection (as defined in section 3 of the Act) where the Museum Council so resolves and, if the value of the material exceeds $20,000, Ministerial approval is obtained.  Subsection 9A(3) of the Act contains a similar provision in relation to the disposal of historical material not forming part of the national historical collection.

 

Items 5 and 6 will amend paragraphs 9(4)(b) and 9A(3)(b) to increase the value of historical material for which Ministerial approval is required before its disposal to $250,000.  

 

The current statutory limit of $20,000 was set when the Act commenced and is to be increased to $250,000.  This proposed figure will better reflect current values and is consistent with the limit set out in paragraph 7A(1)(b) of the National Library Act 1960 .

 

Item 7 - Amendment of paragraph 27(2)(e)

 

Item 7 makes a technical correction to paragraph 27(2)(e) of the Act.  It combines the effect of 2 amendments in previous Acts that did not take effect because they were misdescribed.

 

Section 27 of the Act deals with the termination of the appointment of the Director of the Museum.  One of the grounds on which the Governor-General may terminate the appointment of the Director is if the Director ‘fails to comply with his or her obligations under section 19’.

 

Section 19 of the Act was repealed by the Audit (Transitional and Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 1997 as a consequence of the enactment of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 .  Section 19 required a member of the Museum Council with a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter being considered by the Council to disclose it at a Council meeting and absent himself or herself from any deliberation or decision of the Council with respect to the matter.

 

The disclosure of, and voting on matters involving, material personal interests by Council members is now dealt with by sections 27F and 27J of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (the CAC Act).

 

Item 103 of Schedule 10 to the Corporate Law Economic Reform Program Act 1999 purported to make an amendment to paragraph 27(2)(e) of the Act by inserting a reference to section 27F or 27J of the CAC Act.  That purported amendment could not be made because an earlier purported amendment to paragraph 27(2)(e) of the Act was misdescribed.  The earlier amendment, purported to be made by item 1011 of Schedule 2 to the Audit (Transitional and Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 1997 , failed to recognise an amendment made by item 98 of Schedule 5 to the Statute Law Revision Act 1996 which altered a reference to ‘his obligations’ to ‘his or her obligations’.

 

To rectify these errors, item 7 omits the reference in paragraph 27(2)(e) of the Act to ‘section 19’ and substitutes a reference to ‘section 27F or 27J of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 ’.

 

Item 8 - Insertion of new section 34 - National Museum of Australia Fund

 

Item 8 inserts a new section 34 into the Act to provide for the establishment of a Museum Fund.  New section 34 is based on section 36 of the National Gallery Act 1975 .

 

Section 4 of the Act establishes the Museum as a body corporate.  Section 18 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 requires that Commonwealth authorities (including the Museum) pay all moneys received into a bank account maintained by the Commonwealth authority.  By implication, the Museum is empowered to open and operate bank accounts. 

 

Section 36 of the National Gallery Act 1975 and section 44 of the Australian National Maritime Museum Act 1990 provide for the establishment of a Fund for each institution into which may be paid gifts and bequests (made otherwise than on trust) and money received from the disposal of property, devises, bequests and assignments. 

New section 34 of the Act will ensure that the Museum has a similar Fund.

 

The proposed Fund will not contain money held by the Museum on trust.  By virtue of paragraph 7(2)(c) and subsection 7(4) of the Act, the Museum is obliged to deal with money held by the Museum on trust in accordance with the obligations imposed on the Museum as the trustee of the trust.  Section 35 of the Act, which deals with how moneys of the Museum may be applied, specifically excepts moneys held on trust from the requirements of that section.  If the obligations imposed by a trust required the holding of the moneys in a particular account, or subject to particular conditions, then the Museum would be empowered to do so.

 

Proposed subsection 34(1) of the Act establishes a fund by the name of the National Museum of Australia Fund.

 

Proposed subsection 34(2) of the Act provides that income received from the investment of money standing to the credit of the Fund will form part of the Fund.

 

Proposed subsection 34(3) of the Act provides for payment into the Fund of:

 

(a)                 gifts and bequests of money that the Museum accepts after the Bill receives Royal Assent (otherwise than on trust);



(b)                money that the Museum receives after the Bill receives Royal Assent (other than money to be held on trust by the Museum) from the disposal of property given, devised, bequeathed or assigned to the Museum whether before, at or after the day the Bill receives Royal Assent;



(c)                 so much of the money held by the Museum in bank accounts (otherwise than on trust) immediately before the Bill receives Royal Assent as the Minister determines by written notice given to the Museum within 21 days after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

 

Proposed subsection 34(4) of the Act provides that the payment of money into a bank account maintained by the Museum in accordance with subsection 18(2) of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 under the name of the National Museum of Australia Fund will be taken, for the purposes of proposed subsection 34(3), to be a payment of the money into the Fund.