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Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee
22/05/2017
Estimates
PARLIAMENT
Parliamentary Service Commissioner

Parliamentary Service Commissioner

[20:20]

CHAIR: We now welcome back Mr Lloyd in his capacity as Parliamentary Service Commissioner. Mr President, do you wish to make an opening statement?

The President: No, I do not.

CHAIR: Mr Lloyd, do you wish to make an opening statement?

Mr Lloyd : No, I do not.

Senator McALLISTER: Are there any changes to your budget for 2017-18 over the forward estimates?

Mr Lloyd : I do not have a budget in this role. I attract this appointment because I am the Australian Public Service Commissioner. There is no specific budget allocated to this role.

The President: It is very cost effective for us.

Senator WONG: So you are entirely funded out of the APSC appropriation?

Mr Lloyd : Yes.

Senator McALLISTER: So we should understand that the answers you gave earlier around the APSC—did we talk to you about the APSC budget earlier? I think we did.

Mr Lloyd : No, I do not think so. There were no questions about the budget.

Senator McALLISTER: We might place some on notice then. You answered a question on notice—No. 111—and I have some questions about that. In connection with the decision to appoint a representative to the selection process to fill an SES band 1 vacancy within the Department of the House of Representatives, is it a requirement that the Parliamentary Service Commissioner be involved or is it a courtesy?

Ms Foster : Are you referring to the exchange with Mr Elder about a representative on the panel?

Senator McALLISTER: Yes. Question 111 has a series of advices including, on 4 November 2016:

Endorsement of Commissioner's representative for Department of the House of Representatives SES Band 1 selection.

Ms Foster : It used to be a requirement for SES roles both within the Australian Public Service and within the Parliamentary Service for the agency head to seek endorsement from the commissioner of the commissioner's representative for a selection panel. On each selection panel there is someone who operates as the commissioner's representative. Some 18 months ago we made some changes for Public Service positions which meant that agency heads did not need to formally seek the commissioner's approval; they just needed a representative that met our broad guidelines. I can go through those. It just took us a little bit longer to catch up with the Parliamentary Service departments to make the same changes so that we are not putting people through a process of seeking endorsement of a particular name.

Senator McALLISTER: Have those changes now been made in relation to the parliamentary departments?

Ms Foster : I would have to take that on notice. I am not entirely sure, but I think so.

Senator McALLISTER: But there is no longer a requirement for the Public Service Commissioner to approve representative and you are moving that way with the Parliamentary Service Commissioner as well.

Ms Foster : That is right. The general guidance we give agencies is that they should appoint a representative who does not come from their portfolio so they can provide some independence on the panel. We provide that person with some advice on how they meet their obligations to ensure that the process is fair.

Senator McALLISTER: Mr Lloyd, on how many occasions since 1 July last year have you been away from duty and been required to appoint an acting Parliamentary Service Commissioner?

Mr Lloyd : From 1 July last year?

Senator McALLISTER: Yes.

Mr Lloyd : I am just trying to think. It has been at least once. It would be once, I think. You asked me to remember my leave. It could be once or twice. I think I could have taken a couple of leave periods. I was out of the country on duty overseas on a couple of occasions. Just off the top of my head, there could be three or four occasions when I was either on leave or on duty overseas.

Senator McALLISTER: So it could be three or four when you are on leave or on duty overseas but we cannot be certain?

Mr Lloyd : Off the top of my head, with respect, since July last year, I think I have had a number of overseas trips where I have been on duty out of the country. When I am out of the country, it is a requirement a replacement person fills in for me. It is normally Ms Foster, almost always Ms Foster. If I am on leave, the same thing happens. So if I am either on leave or on duty overseas somebody has to fill in. Off the top of my head, I think it would probably be about four times but I would have to check that.

Senator McALLISTER: Does Ms Foster know? She often does.

Ms Foster : I cannot remember the details. My recollection is one very short period of leave, one slightly longer and maybe two or three overseas trips.

Senator McALLISTER: Perhaps you could provide that on notice.

Mr Lloyd : Yes, certainly.

Senator WONG: When you say 'yes', we would like you to tell us the details—x date to x date.

Mr Lloyd : It is impossible to recall off the top of a person's head.

Senator WONG: Some people do.

Mr Lloyd : I do not think they do.

Senator WONG: If I said 'black', you would say 'white'. You would always contradict me, wouldn't you, Mr Lloyd?

Mr Lloyd : No, I am trying to be reasonable. I just do not recall.

CHAIR: Please feel free to ignore that, Mr Lloyd. Thank you very much for your flexibility tonight. We will now return to the Department of Parliamentary Services.