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Australian Centre for Social Cohesion Bill 2015

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2013-2014-2015

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

Australian Centre for Social Cohesion Bill 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator C Milne)

 

 

 

 

 



Australian Centre for Social Cohesion Bill 2015

 

This bill was introduced by the Australian Greens in the 44 th Parliament.

 

OUTLINE

 

The intention of the Australian Centre for Social Cohesion Bill 2015 is to establish a national, centralised body to develop and implement key preventative programs that help stop young Australians from becoming radicalised. The Centre and its Director will focus on building social cohesion, working with communities to prevent violent extremism.

 

The Centre will be an independent consultative body, bringing together government, law enforcement agencies, academics, researchers and former extremists to consult and work together to build resilient and cohesive communities.

 

The Centre will be tasked with undertaking research into programs aimed at improving social cohesion, promoting discussion about preventing violent extremism in Australia, and where necessary, report on legislation or actions that should be taken by the Commonwealth in this area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes on Clauses

 

 

Part 1

 

Clause 1 provides that the Act may be cited as the Australian Centre for Social Cohesion Act 2015.

 

Clause 2 provides for the Commencement of the Bill. Sections 1 and 2 of the Bill will commence on the day the Act receives Royal Assent. Sections 3 to 27 will commence on a day to be fixed by Proclamation, or, if this does not occur within six months of Royal Assent, they commence one day after the end of that period. Commencement of these sections is delayed for this period to ensure sufficient time for establishment of the centre and its staff.

 

Clause 3 provides a simplified outline of the Bill.

 

The overall aim of the Bill is to establish the Australian Centre for Social Cohesion, which will act to prevent violent extremism through research, consultation and policy implementation.

 

Simplified outlines are included to assist readers to understand the substantive provisions. The outlines are not intended to be comprehensive. It is intended that readers should rely on the substantive provisions.

 

Clause 4 sets out the constitutional basis and boundaries for the powers and functions of the Centre.

 

Clause 5 sets out definitions of terms used within the Act.

 

Part 2

 

Division 1 sets out a simplified outline of functions of Part 2 of the Act.

Clause 6 sets out a simplified outline of the position of the Director of the Centre.

 

Division 2 sets out the establishment of the Centre.

            Clause 1 sets out the name of the Centre in full.

Clause 2 sets out that the Centre comprises a Director, any deputy Directors, and other staff of the Centre.

Clause 3 sets out the function of the Centre in relation to the Director.

Clause 4, Items a-d set out how the Centre, the Director and staff are to be defined under financial law and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

 

Division 3 sets out the role of the Director of the Centre.

Paragraph 8(1)(a) sets out that the Director will consult with a range of bodies to give information about extremism in Australia, and develop policy responses aimed at addressing this issue.

Paragraph 8(1)(b) sets out that the Director will play a capacity building role and equip other bodies to improve social cohesion and deal with violent extremism.

Paragraph 8(1)(c) sets out that the Director will undertake research to gain further understanding of how we can improve social cohesion and address violent extremism.

Paragraph 8(1)(d) sets out that the Director will examine legislative measures to evaluate their impact on social cohesion and violent extremism in Australia.

Paragraph 8(1)(e) sets out that the Director will promote public discourse regarding social cohesion and violent extremism in Australia.

Paragraph 8(1)(f) sets out that the Director will advise and report to the Minister about laws or other actions that need to be made to address violent extremism or promote social cohesion.

Paragraph 8(1)(g) sets out that the Director will report to Parliament on matters relevant to his or her functions.

Paragraph 8(1)(h) sets out that the Director will fulfil the functions in the Act and other relevant federal legislation.

Paragraph 8(1)(i) sets out that the Director can do other things that are conducive to the role of the Centre and its functions.

 

Paragraph 8(2)(a) sets out that the Director will consult with the public in the performance of his or her functions.

Paragraph 8(2)(b) sets out that the Director will actively engage communities that are affected by the research and policies the Centre pursues.

 

Subclause 8(3) sets out that the Director is empowered to do all things that are necessary to fulfil the terms of the position.

 

Clause 9 sets out that the Director is independent, and in fulfilling this role is not subject to direction from any other person or body.

 

Part 3

 

Division 1

Clause 10 is a simplified outline for Part 3. Part 3 sets out how the Director and any Deputy Directors are appointed, and the legislation under which other staff are hired.

 

Division 2

            Clause 11 sets out how a Director of the Centre is to be appointed.

Clause 12 sets out the term length for the Director, with a specified maximum term of 5 years (subject to reappointment).

Clause 13 sets out how remuneration for the Director is to be determined. This remuneration will need to be paid from money appropriated by the Parliament for this purpose, as this clause is not an appropriation of money.

            Clause 14 sets out leave entitlement for the Director.

Clause 15 sets out that the Director cannot have other paid employment whilst engaged as Director of the Centre without ministerial approval.

Clause 16 sets out that the Director must disclose any potential conflicts of interest to the Minister, and the time frame in which this must occur.

Clause 17 sets out that the Director holds the position under the terms set out in the Act and related rules.

Clause 18 sets out the process by which the Director can resign, including time frames.

Clause 19 sets out the conditions under and process by which the employment of the Director can be terminated by the Minister.

Subclause 20(1) sets out the process by which a Minister can appoint an acting Director.

Subclause 20(2) sets out that any acting Director appointed must have qualifications and knowledge appropriate to the position.

 

Division 3

            Clause 21 sets out the process by which Deputy Directors can be appointed

 

Division 4

Clause 22 sets out that staff of the Centre are to be employed under the Public Service Act 1999 .

Clause 23 sets out that the Director can engage consultants to assist them in fulfilling their role.

Clause 24 sets out the process by which the Director can delegate their functions and powers, and to whom they can delegate.

 

Part 4

 

Clause 25 sets out the structure of Part 4.

Clause 26 prevents legal action being brought against the Centre and its employees for things done in good faith, and identifies the Minister, Director, deputy Directors and staff of the Centre as protected persons that cannot have legal action brought against them.

Clause 27 sets out the powers of the Minister to make rules relating to the Act.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

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

 

Australian Centre for Social Cohesion Bill 2015

 

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 .

 

Overview of the Bill:

The purpose of this Bill is to establish the Australian Centre for Social Cohesion, which will act to research, consult, and promote social cohesion and addressing violent extremism.

 

Human Rights Implications:

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion:

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.