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Wednesday, 9 February 2005
Page: 185

Senator Hutchins asked the President of the Senate, upon notice, on 31 January 2005:

In relation to the process for the appointment of the Secretary, Department of Parliamentary Services:

(1)   When was the position advertised.

(2)   What was the closing date for applications for the position.

(3)   How many applications were received by the closing date.

(4)   Of the applications received by the closing date, how many were from: (a) male applicants; and (b) female applicants.

(5)   Of the applications received by the closing date, how many were from: (a) employees or office holders of the Parliamentary Service; (b) employees or office holders of the Australian Public Service (APS); and (c) individuals outside either the Parliamentary Service or the APS.

(6)   Were any applications accepted or solicited after the closing date; if so, how many.

(7)   If applications were accepted or solicited after the closing date, can the same information be provided in respect of those applications as requested in (4) and (5) above.

(8)   Who prepared the shortlist of applicants to be interviewed.

(9)   Was the field of candidates discussed with or by the then Presiding Officers prior to interviews being held; if so, when and who was present.

(10)   If the field of candidates was discussed with or by the then Presiding Officers prior to interviews occurring, were their senior advisers present when that discussion took place.

(11)   When did interviews take place.

(12)   Who conducted the interviews.

(13)   Did the then Presiding Officers interview any applicants; if so, when and how many.

(14)   Were the then Presiding Officers’ senior advisers present at those interviews; if so, why.

The PRESIDENT —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(1)   30 August 2003.

(2)   12 September 2003.

(3)   Five.

(4) (a)   Five; (b) None.

(5) (a)   Two; (b) None; (c) Three.

(6)   Yes; two.

(7)   One female and one male, both employees or office-holders of the Australian Public Service.

(8)   The then Parliamentary Service Commissioner, Mr Andrew Podger, and Ms Helen Williams, AO, Secretary to the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and previously Parliamentary Service Commissioner.

(9)   No; but the Parliamentary Service Commissioner wrote to the Presiding Officers to provide a progress report on the process.

(10)   Not applicable.

(11)   On various dates in October 2003.

(12)   The then Parliamentary Service Commissioner and Ms Williams.

(13)   Section 59(2) of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 provides that the Presiding Officers must receive a report on any vacancy in the office of Secretary of a joint parliamentary department from the Parliamentary Service Commissioner before that vacancy is filled.  In accordance with the Act, the Parliamentary Service Commissioner provided a report.  The then Presiding Officers subsequently interviewed two short-listed candidates, on 24 November 2003.

(14)   Yes; they were present at the Presiding Officers’ request, but they did not participate in the interviews.