Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Social Security Commission Bill 2018 [No. 2]

Bill home page  


Download WordDownload Word


Download PDFDownload PDF

 

 

 

 

2016-2017-2018

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION BILL 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Storer)



SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION BILL 2018

 

OUTLINE

 

We pride ourselves on providing support for those in need. As a nation we must ensure that the social safety net is sufficient in times of need.

 

The current system of setting payment rates has fallen behind community expectations. Payments should be responsive to the broader changes in community living standards, maintain purchasing power in line with wage and cost of living increases, and ultimately provide a stable domestic environment.

 

Regular reviews of social security payment adequacy would ensure recipients have a standard of living that allows them to live with frugal dignity, as they look for work, or study, and/or support children.

 

The objective of this Bill is to implement an evidence based approach that is independent of Government to identify the appropriate rate of social security payments.

 

This Bill will establish a Social Security Commission to provide the Parliament with independent advice on the minimum levels for social security payments, such that all recipients can meet an accepted contemporary minimum standard of living.

 

The primary function of the Commission is to conduct social security payment reviews. As part of a review the Commission must determine, for each social security payment reviewed:

(a)            the acceptable standard of living for recipients of the payment; and

 

(b)           whether the current level of the payment provides adequate support to meet that standard; and

 

(c)            if the Commission determines that the current level, or rate of indexation, of the payment does not provide adequate support to meet that standard—a recommended increase to the level of the payment, or recommended change to the rate of indexation of the payment, that the Commonwealth Government should adopt.

 

The Commission will consider all social security payments made under the Social Security Act 1991 . The Commission must ensure that each social security payment is the subject of at least one social security payment review every 4 years.

 

In determining the acceptable standard of living for recipients of a social security payment,

the Commission must take into account broader changes in community living standards, wage increases, and contemporary accepted budget standards to meet minimum standards of living.

 

An acceptable standard of living (including housing costs), must not result in recipients falling below the poverty line using international accepted definitions of “poverty line”.

 

The Commission will also have a role in conducting reviews at the request of the Minister or the Parliament , the terms of these review will be set out in written instruments or by resolution of either House of the Parliament, respectively.

 

The Commission will be required to undertake reviews in a transparent manner, and publish submissions and final reports. The Commission must ensure a reasonable opportunity for interested parties to make comments for consideration in a review, on the material published.

 

The Minister will be required to table the reviews in both Houses of the Parliament and provide a detailed response to the Commission’s recommendations.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Part 1— Preliminary

 

Clause 1: Short title

 

1.                   Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

2.                   Proposed sections 1 and 2 in this Bill will commence on the day the Bill receives the Royal Assent.

 

3.                   Proposed sections 3 to 47 would commence on the day the Consolidated Revenue Fund is appropriated under an Act to the Department in which this Bill is administered for payment to the Commissioner.

 

Clause 3: Principle Object

 

4.                   Clause 3 outlines that the principle objective of the Bill is to establish a Social Security Commission to provide the Parliament with independent advice on the minimum levels for social security payments, such that all recipients can meet an accepted contemporary minimum standard of living.

 

5.                   This is to ensure living standards of people relying on social security payments reflect the broader changes in community living standards and maintain purchasing power, in line with wage and cost of living increases.

 

Clause 4: Definitions

 

6.                   Clause 4 provides definitions for terms used in the Bill.

 

Clause 5: Crown to be bound

 

7.                   Clause 5 provides that the Crown in right of the Commonwealth will be bound by the Bill.

 

Clause 6: Extension to external Territories

 

8.                   Clause 6 provides that the Bill extends to every external Territory.



 

Part 2—The Social Security Commission

 

Clause 7: Establishment of the Social Security Commission

 

9.                   Clause 7 provides that the Social Security Commission is to be established, consisting of the President; and four Commissioners.

 

10.               A note at the end of clause 7 explains that the Commission also has a General Manager and staff (see Part 4).

 

Clause 8: Functions of the Commission

 

11.               Clause 8 provides that the functions of the Commission are:

 

(a)            to research, collect, analyse, interpret and disseminate information and knowledge relating to social security payments and defining a fair and acceptable safety net;

 

(b)           to conduct social security payment reviews;

 

(c)            to conduct reviews, relating to social security payments, at the request of the Minister or the Parliament;

 

(d)           any other functions conferred on the Commission under this Bill or any other law;

 

(e)            to undertake activities to promote public understanding of matters relevant to any of the above functions;

 

(f)            to do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the above functions.

 

Clause 9: Powers of the Commission

 

12.               Clause 9 provides that the Commission has power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of its functions.

 

Clause 10: Directions by the President

 

13.               Subclause 10(1) provides that President of the Commission may give directions as to the manner in which the Commission is to perform its functions, exercise its powers or deal with matters.

 

14.               Subclause 10(2) provides that President may give a direction that is of a general nature, or that relates to a particular matter, to either or both a Commissioner or the General Manager.

 

15.               Subclause 10(3) provides that the direction must not relate to the recommendations to be set out in a report of a review under this Bill.

 

16.               Subclause 10(4) provides that a person to whom a direction is given must comply with the direction.

 

17.               A note at the end of subclause 10(4) explains that for directions to the General Manager, see clause 33.

 

18.               Subclause 10(5) provides that if a direction is in writi ng, the direction is not a legislative instrument .

 

Clause 11: Social security payment reviews

 

19.               Subclause 11(1) provides that the Commission will conduct social security payment reviews.

 

20.               Subclause 11(2) defines a social security payment review as a review of the sufficiency of one or more social security payments. As part of a review the Commission must determine, for each social security payment reviewed:

 

(a)            the acceptable standard of living for recipients of the payment; and

 

(b)           whether the current level of the payment provides adequate support to meet that standard; and

 

(c)            if the Commission determines that the current level, or rate of indexation, of the payment does not provide adequate support to meet that standard—a recommended increase to the level of the payment, or recommended change to the rate of indexation of the payment, that the Commonwealth Government should adopt.

 

21.               Subclause 11(3) provides that for the purpose of making a determination about a social security payment, the Commission must take into account, to the extent that it considers appropriate, the terms upon which the payment is provided (including means-testing for the receipt of or withdrawal of payments) and any other sources of income that may be available to the recipients.

 

22.               Subclause 11(4) outlines that in determining the acceptable standard of living for recipients of a social security payment:

 

(a)            the Commission must take into account broader changes in community living standards, wage increases, and contemporary accepted budget standards to meet minimum standards of living; and

 

(b)           an acceptable standard of living (including housing costs) must not result in recipients falling below the poverty line, using internationally accepted definitions of “poverty line”.

 

23.               Subclause 11(5) provides that any increase to the level of a payment, or change to a rate of indexation, recommended in accordance with paragraph 11(2)(c) must be such as to, in the Commission’s opinion, provide adequate support to meet the standard referred to in paragraph 11(2)(a).

 

24.               Subclause 11(6) provides that subject to subclauses 11(7) and 11(8), the Commission may conduct a social security payment review on its own initiative or at the request of an organisation that represents persons in receipt of one or more social security payments.

 

25.               Subclause 11(7) provides that the Commission must conduct a social security payment review in relation to a social security payment, if

 

(a)            the Minister, by written instrument given to the President, requests the Commission to conduct a social security payment review relating to that payment; or

 

(b)           either House of the Parliament, by resolution, requests the Commission to conduct a social security payment review relating to that payment.

 

26.               Subclause 11(8) provides that the Commission must ensure that each social security payment is the subject of at least one social security payment review every 4 years.

 

Clause 12: Reviews at the request of the Minister or the Parliament      

 

27.               Paragraph 12(1)(a) outlines that a social security payment review can be requested by the Minister, by written instrument given to the President, requesting the Commission to conduct a review of such matters relating to social security payments as are specified in the instrument.

 

28.               Paragraph 12(1)(b) outlines that a social security payment review can be requested by either House of the Parliament, by resolution, requesting the Commission to conduct a review of such matters relating to social security payments as are specified in the resolution.

 

29.               Subclause 12(2) requires the Commission to conduct a review where it receives a request for the review from the Minister or the Parliament.

 

30.               Subclause 12(3) provides that an instrument given under paragraph 12(1)(a) is not considered a legislative instrument .

 

Clause 13: Procedures etc.

 

31.               Subclause 13(1) provides that subject to this Bill, the Commission may determine the procedures it will use in performing its functions.

 

32.               Subclause 13(2) provides that without limiting subclause 13(1), the Commission may determine the following:

 

(a)            the timing and frequency of social security payment reviews;

 

(b)           the scope of particular social security payment reviews;

 

(c)            the manner in which social security payment reviews, or reviews under clause 12, are to be conducted.

 

33.               Subclause 13(3) provides that the Commission must use its best endeavours to give a report of a social security payment review to the Minister at a time when it can be taken into account in the preparation of an annual Commonwealth budget.

 

34.               Subclause 13(4) provides that for the purposes of performing its functions, the Commission may inform itself in any way it thinks appropriate, including by:

 

(a)            undertaking or commissioning research; or

 

(b)           consulting with any other person, body or organisation.

 

Clause 14:      Constitution of the Commission

 

35.               Subclause 14(1) provides that subject to subclause 14(2), a function or power of the Commission must be performed or exercised by the President and the four Commissioners.

 

36.               Subclause 14(2) provides that if the President considers it necessary in circumstances where one or more Commissioners are unavailable, the President may determine that, for the purposes of performing or exercising its functions or powers in those circumstances, the Commission is to be constituted by the President and no fewer than two Commissioners.

 

Clause 15:      Reviews to be open and transparent

 

37.               Subclause 15(1) provides that a review under this Bill must be conducted in a manner that is open and transparent.

 

38.               Subclause 15(2) provides that without limiting subclause 15(1), the Commission must, in relation to each review, ensure that all persons and bodies have a reasonable opportunity to make written submissions to the Commission for consideration in the review.

 

39.               Subclause 15(3) provides that the Commission must generally publish all submissions made to the Commission for consideration in the review.

 

40.               However, subclause 15(4) provides that if a submission made by a person or body includes information that is claimed by the person or body to be confidential or commercially sensitive, and the Commission is satisfied that the information is confidential or commercially sensitive, the Commission:

 

(a)            may decide not to publish the information; and

 

(b)           may instead publish:

 

(i)             a summary of the information which contains sufficient detail to allow a reasonable understanding of the substance of the information (without disclosing anything that is confidential or commercially sensitive); or

 

(ii)           if the Commission considers that it is not practicable to prepare a summary that would comply with subparagraph 15(4)(b)(i)—a statement that confidential or commercially sensitive information in the submission has not been published.

 

41.               Subclause 15(5) provides that the Commission must ensure that all persons and bodies have a reasonable opportunity to make comments to the Commission, for consideration in the review, on the material published under subclauses 15(3) and 15(4).

 

42.               Subclause 15(6) provides that the publishing of material under subclauses 15(3) and 15(4) may be done in any way the Commission thinks appropriate.



 

Clause 16: Reports of reviews

 

43.               Clause 16 provides that the Commission must prepare and give to the Minister a report of:

 

(a)            a social security payment review; or

 

(b)           a review under clause 12 (reviews at the request of the Minister or the Parliament).

 

Clause 17: Reports of reviews—contents

 

44.               Subclause 17(1) provides that a report of a social security payment review must set out the following for each social security payment reviewed:

 

(a)            information and research in regard to the sufficiency of the payment;

 

(b)           the acceptable standard of living for recipients of the payment (see paragraph 11(2)(a));

 

(c)            whether the current level of the payment provides adequate support to meet that standard (see paragraph 11(2)(b));

 

(d)           any recommended increase to the level of the payment or change to the rate of indexation of the payment (see paragraph 11(2)(c)).

 

45.               Subclause 17(2) provides that a report of a social security payment review may set out any other recommendations to the Commonwealth Government.

 

46.               Subclause 17(3) provides that the members must use their best endeavours to come to a unanimous decision in making a recommendation to the Commonwealth Government in a report of a social security payment review. If a recommendation is not unanimous, the report must be written in such a way that the matters of agreement and difference are disclosed.

 

47.               Subclause 17(4) provides that a report of a review, other than a social security payment review, may make recommendations to the Commonwealth Government.

 

48.               Subclauses 17(5) and 17(6) relate to considerations the Commission must take into account when formulating recommendations that the Commonwealth Government should take particular action.

 

49.               Subclause 17(7) provides that the Commission must provide the reasons for its recommendations.

 

Clause 18: Government required to respond to recommendations

 

50.               Clause 18 provides details on what the Government must provide in response to the Commissions reports:

 

(1)           If a report of a social security payment review, or of a review under clause 12 at the request of the Parliament, sets out one or more recommendations to the Commonwealth Government, the Minister must, as soon as practicable after receiving the report, cause to be prepared a statement setting out the Commonwealth Government’s response to each of the recommendations.

 

(2)           Without limiting subclause 17(1), if a report of a social security payment review sets out a recommendation of the kind referred to in paragraph 17(1)(d), the statement must:

 

(a)            set out whether the Commonwealth Government accepts the recommendation; and

 

(b)           if the Commonwealth Government accepts the recommendation—the actions the Commonwealth Government proposes to take to implement the recommendation; and

 

(c)            if the Commonwealth Government does not accept the recommendation—the reasons for not accepting the recommendation.

 

(3)           The Minister must cause a statement prepared in accordance with subclause 18(1) to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 6 months after receiving the report to which the statement relates.

 

Clause 19: Reports of reviews—tabling and publication 

 

51.               Clause 19 deals with the tabling of the Commission's reports of reviews in Parliament.

 

52.               Subclause 19(1) provides that the Minister mu st cause copies of a report of a review under this Bill to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 5 sitting days of that House after receiving the report.

 

53.               Subclause 19(2) provides that the Commission must publish a report of a review under this Bill:

 

(a)            for a report of a social security payment review or of a review under clause 12 at the request of the Parliament—as soon as practicable after giving it to the Minister; and

 

(b)           for a report of a review under clause 12 at the request of the Minister—as soon as practicable after the report is tabled in each House of the Parliament.

 

54.               Subclause 19(3) provides that a report may be published in any way the Commission thinks appropriate.

 

Clause 20: Publication of other information

 

55.               Clause 20 provides for the Commission, as it thinks appropriate and in any way it thinks appropriate, to publish any information about the functions conferred on it by this Bill or any other Act.

 

Clause 21: Annual report

 

56.               Clause 21 provides that the annual report, prepared by the General Manager and given to the Minister under section 46 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 for a year, must include a report from the President on the operations of the Commission during that year.

 

Part 3—Members of the Social Security Commission

 

Clause 22: Appointment of members

 

57.               Subclause 22(1) outlines the process of appointment of members of the Commission. A member is to be appointed by the Minister by written instrument.

 

58.               Subclause 22(2) outlines that before appointing a member, the Minister must consult with:

(a)            representative bodies; and

 

(b)           the States; and

 

(c)            the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives.

 

59.               Subclause 22(3) outlines that a person must not be appointed as a member unless the person has a high level of skills and experience relevant to providing advice on social security payments, including skills and experience in:

 

(a)            academic research; or

 

(b)           business or economics; or

 

(c)            social and community organisations.

 

60.               Subclause 22(4) requires that the instrument of appointment of a member must specify whether the member is appointed as:

 

(a)            the President; or

 

(b)           a Commissioner.

 

61.               Subclause 22(5) provides that a member may be appointed on a full time or part time basis, as specified in the instrument of appointment, and holds office for the period specified in the instrument of appointment. The period must not exceed 5 years.

 

62.               A note after this clause explains that a member may be reappointed: see section 33AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

 

Clause 23: Remuneration

 

63.               Subclause 23(1) outlines that a member is to be paid the remuneration that is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. If no determination of that remuneration by the Tribunal is in operation, the member is to be paid the remuneration that is prescribed by the regulation s.

 

64.               Subclause 23(2) outlines that a member is to be paid the allowances that are prescribed by the regulations.

 

65.               Subclause 23(3) outlines that this clause has effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.

 

Clause 24: Leave of absence

 

66.               Subclause 24(1) outlines that if a member is appointed on a full-time basis:

 

(a)            the member has the recreation leave entitlements that are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal; and

 

(b)           the Minister may grant the member leave of absence, other than recreation leave, on the terms and conditions as to remuneration or otherwise that the Minister determines.

 

67.               Subclause 24(2) outlines that if the member is appointed on a part-time basis, the Minister may grant leave of absence to the member on the terms and conditions that the Minister determines.

 

Clause 25: Oath or affirmation of office

 

68.               Clause 25 outlines that a member must, before proceeding to discharge the duties of the office to which he or she has been appointed, take before the Governor-General, a Justice of the High Court, a Judge of the Federal Court or a Judge of the Supreme Court of a State or Territory an oath or affirmation .

 

Clause 26: Other paid work and disclosure of interests

 

69.               Subclause 26(1) outlines that a member who is appointed on a full-time basis must not engage in paid work outside the duties of his or her office without the Minister’s approval.

 

70.               Subclause 26(2) outlines that a member who is appointed on a part-time basis must not engage in any paid work that conflicts or could conflict with the proper performance of his or her duties.

 

71.               Subclause 26(3) outlines that a member must give written notice to the Minister of all interests (pecuniary or otherwise) that the member has or acquires and that conflict or could conflict with the proper performance of his or her functions.

 

72.               Subclause 26(4) outlines that subclause (3) applies in addition to any rules made for the purposes of section 29 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

 

Clause 27: Resignation

 

73.               Subclause 27(1) outlines that a member may resign his or her appointment by giving the Governor-General a written resignation.

 

74.               Subclause 27(2) provides that the resignation takes effect on the day it is received by the governor-General or, if a later day is specified in the resignation, on that later day.

 

Clause 28: Termination of appointment

 

75.               Subclause 28(1) provides that the Governor-General may terminate the appointment of a member:

 

(a)            for misbehaviour; or

 

(b)           if the member is unable to perform the duties of his or her office because of physical or mental incapacity.

 

76.               Subclause 28(2) provides that the Governor-General may terminate the appointment of a member if:

 

(a)            the member:

 

(i)             becomes bankrupt; or

 

(ii)           applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors; or

 

(iii)         compounds with his or her creditors; or

 

(iv)         makes an assignment of his or her remuneration for the benefit of his or her creditors; or

 

(b)           the member is absent, except on leave of absence, for 14 consecutive days or for 28 days in any 12 months; or

 

(c)            the member engages, except with the Minister’s approval, in paid work outside the duties of his or her office (see clause 26); or

 

(d)           the member fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with subclause 26(3) (disclosure of interests); or

 

(e)            the member fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with section 29 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (which deals with the duty to disclose interests) or rules made for the purposes of that section.

 

Clause 29: Other terms and conditions

 

77.               Clause 29 provides that a member holds office on the terms and conditions (if any) in relation to matters not covered by this Bill that are determined by the Minister.

 

Clause 30: Acting members

 

78.               Subclause 30(1) provides that the Minister may, by written instrument, appoint a person who meets the requirements set out in subclause 22(3) to act as President:

 

(a)            during a vacancy in the office of the President (whether or not an appointment has previously been made to the office); or

 

(b)           during any period, or during all periods, when the President is absent from duty or from Australia, or is, for any reason, unable to perform the duties of the office.

 

79.               Subclause 30(2) provides that the Minister may, by written instrument, appoint a person who meets the requirement set out in subclause 22(3) to act as a Commissioner:

 

(a)            during a vacancy in the office of a Commissioner (whether or not an appointment has previously been made to the office); or

 

(b)           during any period, or during all periods, when a Commissioner is acting as President, is absent from duty or from Australia, or is, for any reason, unable to perform the duties of the office.

 

Part 4—General Manager, staff and consultants etc

 

Clause 31: Establishment

 

80.               Clause 31 provides that there is to be a General Manager of the Commission.

 

Clause 32: Functions and powers of the General Manager

 

81.               Subclause 32(1) provides that the General Manager is to assist the President in ensuring that the Commission performs its functions and exercises its powers.

 

82.               Subclause 32(2) provides that the General Manager has power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for the purpose of performing his or her functions.

 

Clause 33: Directions from the President

 

83.               Clause 33 provides that despite the President’s power of direction under clause 10, the General Manager is not required to comply with a direction by the President to the extent that:

 

(a)            compliance with the direction would be inconsistent with the General Manager’s performance of functions or exercise of powers under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 in relation to the Commission; or

 

(b)           the direction relates to the General Manager’s performance of functions or exercise of powers under the Public Service Act 1999 in relation to the Commission.

 

Clause 34: Appointment of the General Manager

 

84.               Subclause 34(1) provides that the General Manager is to be appointed by the Minister by written instrument on the nomination of the President.

 

85.               Subclause 34(2) provides that the General Manager holds office on a full-time basis for the period specified in his or her instrument of appointment. The period must not exceed 5 years.

 

86.               A note at the bottom of this clause explains that the General Manager may be reappointed: see section 33AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .

 

Clause 35: Remuneration

 

87.               Subclause 35(1) provides that the General Manager is to be paid the remuneration that is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. If no determination of that remuneration by the Tribunal is in operation, the General Manager is to be paid the remuneration that is prescribed by the regulations.

 

88.               Subclause 35(2) provides that the General Manager is to be paid the allowances that are prescribed by the regulations.

 

89.               Subclause 35(3) provides that this clause has effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 .

 

Clause 36: Leave of absence

 

90.               Subclause 36(1) provides that the General Manager has the recreation leave entitlements that are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.

 

91.               Subclause 36(2) provides that the Minister may grant the General Manager leave of absence, other than recreation leave, on the terms and conditions as to remuneration or otherwise that the Minister determines.

 

Clause 37: Other paid work and disclosure of interests

 

92.               Subclause 37(1) provides that the General Manager must not engage in paid work outside the duties of his or her office without the Minister’s approval.

 

93.               Subclause 37(2) provides that the General Manager must give written notice to the Minister of all interests (pecuniary or otherwise) that the General Manager has or acquires and that conflict or could conflict with the proper performance of his or her duties.

 

94.               Subclause 37(3) provides that subclause 37(2) applies in addition to any rules made for the purposes of section 29 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 .

 

Clause 38: Resignation

 

95.               Subclause 38(1) provides that the General Manager may resign his or her appointment by giving the Minister a written resignation.

 

96.               Subclause 38(2) provides that the resignation takes effect on the day it is received by the Minister or, if a later day is specified in the resignation, on that later day.

 

Clause 39: Termination of appointment

 

97.               Clause 39 provides that the Minister may terminate the appointment of the General Manager on the same grounds as the appointment of members may be terminated by the Governor-General.

 

Clause 40: Other terms and conditions

 

98.               Clause 40 provides that the General Manager holds office on the terms and conditions (if any) in relation to matters not covered by this Bill that are determined by the Minister.



 

Clause 41: Acting General Manager

 

99.               Clause 41 provides that the Minister may, by written instrument, appoint a person to act as the General Manager:

 

(a)            during a vacancy in the office of the General Manager (whether or not an appointment has previously been made to the office); or

 

(b)           during any period, or during all periods, when the General Manager is absent from duty or from Australia, or is, for any reason, unable to perform the duties of the office.

 

Clause 42: Staff

 

100.           Subclause 42(1) provides that the staff of the Commission must be persons engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 .

 

101.           Subclause 42(2) provides that for the purposes of the Public Service Act 1999 :

 

(a)            the General Manager and the staff of the Commission together constitute a Statutory Agency; and

 

(b)           the General Manager is the Head of that Statutory Agency.

 

Clause 43: Delegation by General Manager to staff

 

102.           Subclause 43(1) provides that the General Manager may, in writing, delegate all or any of his or her functions or powers to:

 

(a)            a member of the staff of the Commission who is an SES employee or acting SES employee; or

 

(b)           a member of the staff of the Commission who is in a class of employees prescribed by the regulations.

 

103.           Subclause 43(2) provides that in performing functions or exercising powers under a delegation, the delegate must comply with any directions of the General Manager.

 

104.           A note at the end of clause 43 makes reference to sections 34AA and 34AB of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 which relate to the interpretation of statutory powers to delegate functions or powers.

 

Clause 44: Persons assisting the Commission

 

105.           Clause 44 provides the Commission may also be assisted:

 

(a)            by employees of Agencies (within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999 ); or

 

(b)           by officers and employees of a State or Territory; or

 

(c)            by officers and employees of authorities of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory;

 

whose services are made available to the Commission in connection with the performance of any of its functions.

 

Clause 45: Consultants

 

106.           Clause 45 provides that the General Manager may engage persons having suitable qualifications and experience as consultants to the Commission.

 

Clause 46: Application of the finance law

 

107.           Clause 46 provides that for the purposes of the finance law (within the meaning of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 ):

 

(a)            the Commission is a listed entity; and

 

(b)           the General Manager is the accountable authority of the Commission; and

 

(c)            the following persons are officials of the Commission:

 

(i)             the President;

 

(ii)           the Commissioners;

 

(iii)         the General Manager;

 

(iv)         the staff of the Commission referred to in clause 42;

 

(v)           persons whose services are made available to the Commission under clause 44;

 

(vi)         consultants engaged under clause 45; and

 

(d)           the purposes of the Commission include:

 

(i)             the functions of the Commission referred to in clause 8; and

 

(ii)           the functions of the General Manager referred to in clause 32.

 

Part 5—Miscellaneous

 

Clause 47: Regulations

 

108.           Clause 47 provides that the Governor-General may make regulations prescribing matters:

 

(a)            required or permitted by this Bill to be prescribed by the regulations; or

 

(b)           necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Bill.



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

 

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

 

Social Security Commission Bill 2018

 

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 Bill will establish a Social Security Commission to provide the Parliament with independent advice on the minimum levels for social security payments, such that all recipients can meet an accepted contemporary minimum standard of living.

 

Human rights implications

The Bill promotes human rights by ensuring the social security system provides a minimum essential level of benefits to all individuals and families that will enable them to acquire essential health care, shelter and housing, water and sanitation, foodstuffs, and access to education.

 

The Bill promotes the rights defined under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), article 5(e)(iv) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), articles 11(1)(e) and 14(2)(c) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, article 26 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

 

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights because it advances the protection of Human Rights, in particular it promotes the right to social security.

 

 

Senator Tim Storer