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Tuesday, 5 September 1989
Page: 994


Senator TATE (Minister for Justice)(9.06) —On the whole, I agree with Senator Coulter's line of thinking. For example, I think the best way to approach clause 47 would be to say that the Minister may, after consulting the Commission, grant leave of absence to the Chief Executive Officer. It would be quite ludicrous to have a need for agreement. Matters such as leave of absence, appointment of an acting Chief Executive Officer, as set out in clause 48, and other terms and conditions, as set out in clause 52, ought to be able to be dealt with by consultation.

The termination of appointment is a little more difficult. Let us assume that the appointment is made by agreement. It might be, as Senator Baume put it, that if one or other of the parties feels that the Chief Executive Officer is not the sort of person that it wants, the agreement will collapse and, therefore, the appointment should be able to be terminated. But the termination of appointment can be made only on specified grounds set out in clause 51 (1) such as incompetence, misbehaviour, or physical or mental incapacity. They are the discretionary grounds for the termination of appointment. Mandatory grounds are outlined in clause 51 (2). Honourable senators have to recognise that objective grounds are outlined in that clause as to the reasons which might be properly put forward for the termination of the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer. I think the terminology used in clause 51 (1) should remain. Subclause (1) states:

The Minister may, after consulting the Commission, terminate the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer because of incompetence, misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity.

I think those words can remain. In other words, agreement is required for the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer. From then on, the Minister needs to consult the Commission at every stage in relation to other matters set out in division 6 in relation to the Chief Executive Officer.