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Office of Parliamentary Counsel Reports 1997-98


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ffice of Parliamentary Counsel

Annual Report 1997-98

Canberra

©

Commonwealth of Australia 1998

ISSN 1034-3202

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COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

l i f e4 λ. A U S T R A L IA yj>

Telephone (06) 270 1400 Fax (06) 270 1403 OFFICE OF PARLIAMENTARY COUNSEL MTA HOUSE

39 BRISBANE AVENUE BARTON A.C.T. 2600 Locked Bag 30 Queen Victoria Terrace A.C.T. 2600

The Hon Daryl Williams AM QC MP Attorney-General Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Attorney-General

I have pleasure in submitting the Annual Report and Financial Statements of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for the year 1 July 1997 to 30 June 1998.

The report has been prepared under section 16A of the Parliamentary Counsel Act 1970.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Penfold First Parliamentary Counsel

22 October 1998

Contents

1 In tro d u ctio n ................................................................................................... i

1.1 Establishment and functions................................................................. l

1.2 Corporate objectives................................................................................l

1.3 Structure of the report.............................................................................2

2 Highlights of the y e ar.................................................................................. 4

2.1 Legislation............................................................................................... 4

2.2 Feedback on legislation..........................................................................4

3 P rogram p erform ance................................................................................. 5

3.1 Financial statements............................................................................... 5

3.2 Program structure................................................................................... 5

3.2.1 Description..........................................................................................5

3.2.2 Achievement of performance targets from Portfolio Budget Statement........................................................................................... 6

3.3 Financial and staffing resources summary.......................................... 9

3.4 Summary table of resources................................................................. 10

3.5 The legislation program........................................................................ 10

3.5.1 The programming approach.............................................................. 10

3.5.2 Bills................................................................................................... ll

3.5.3 Parliamentary amendments............................................................... 16

3.6 Regulatory Review Unit and Law Revision U nit............................ 17

3.7 Drafting teams outposted to work on special projects....................19 3.7.1 The Corporate Law Economic Reform Program................................19 3.7.2 The Tax Law Improvement Project..................................................20

3.7.3 Effect on Office’s resources............................................................. 21

3.8 Drafting style......................................................................................... 22

3.9 Other activities.......................................................................................24

3.9.1 Seminars........................................................................................... 24

3.9.2 Consolidation of drafting directions.................................................24

3.9.3 Client advising arrangements........................................................... 24

3.9.4 Legislation process courses...............................................................25

3.9.5 Dealings with the States and Territories...........................................26

3.9.6 Overseas visits.................................................................................. 27

3.9.7 Overseas visitors............................................................................... 27

3.10 Matters affecting the O ffice...............................................................27

3.10.1 Printing........................................................................................... 27

3.10.2 Review of the Attorney-General’ s Department............................ 28 3.10.3 In-house access to consolidated text of legislation..........................28

4

C orporate overview ................................................................................... 30

4.1 Structure and senior m anagem ent.......................................................30

4.2 Senior staffing changes......................................................................... 30

4.3 Working arrangements.......................................................................... 30

4.3.1 Drafting teams...................................................................................30

4.3.2 Senior management meetings............................................................ 32

4.3.3 Restructuring of the Administration Section.................................... 32

4.4 Recruitment and resources...................................................................32

4.4.1 Drafting staff..................................................................................... 32

4.4.2 Other staff......................................................................................... 33

4.5 Staff development..................................................................................33

4.5.1 Training—drafting skills................................................................... 33

4.5.2 Training—continuing legal education...............................................34

4.5.3 Training—information technology....................................................34

4.5.4 Staff Development Plan.................................................................... 34

4.6 Workplace bargaining...........................................................................34

4.7 Workplace diversity, equal employment opportunity, social justice and equity within the Office....................................................................... 35

4.7.1 Workplace diversity within the Office..............................................35

4.7.2 Equal employment opportunity within the Office............................36 4.8 Social justice and equity in the work of the O ffice......................... 37

4.9 Internal scrutiny..................................................................................... 38

4.9.1 Work Environment Initiative.............................................................38

4.9.2 Legal Assistants................................................................................ 38

4.9.3 Audit Committee.............................................................................. 39

4.9.4 Review of selection documents for drafting positions...................... 39 4.10 External scrutiny..................................................................................39

4.10.1 Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills...................... 39 4.10.2 Parliamentary Committees.............................................................. 39

4.10.3 Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee.................40 4.10.4 Audit Reports..................................................................................40

4.11 Client satisfaction................................................................................40

5 Industrial dem ocracy (participative w ork p ractices)........................ 43

5.1 Principles and aim s............................................................................... 43

5.2 The Industrial Democracy Plan........................................................... 43

5.3 Staff meetings........................................................................................ 44

5.4 Office committees.................................................................................44

6 O ccupational health and safety................................................................46

6.1 General....................................................................................................46

6.2 Other activities.......................................................................................46

6.3 Accidents and dangerous occurrences................................................ 47

7 Freedom of information 48

8 Advertising and market research........................................................... 49

9 Contact officer for additional inform ation........................................... 50

Appendix A: Occupational Health and Safety Policy Statement...... 51

Appendix B: Functional statement— Freedom of Information Act. ..52 B.l Establishment and organisation.......................................................... 52

B.2 Functions................................................................................................52

B.3 Categories of documents......................................................................52

B.4 Facilities for access...............................................................................53

B. 5 FOI procedures and initial contact points...................................... 53

Appendix C: Staffing overview................................................................... 54

C . l Staffing overview............................................................................... 54

C.2 Senior staff changes during the year..................................................55

C.3 Performance-based pay........................................................................ 55

C.4 Expenditure on staff development......................................................55

C.5 Consultants............................................................................................ 56

Appendix D: G lossary...................................................................................57

Appendix E: Financial Statements 1997-98.............................................58

Alphabetical index......................................................................................... 82

Compliance index...........................................................................................86

vii

1 I

ntroduction

This report has been prepared under section 16A of the Parliamentary Counsel Act 1970. It covers the activities of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel during the year 1 July 1997 to 30 June 1998.

1.1 Establishment and functions

The Office of Parliamentary Counsel was established under the Parliamentary Counsel Act 1970.

The functions of the Office are set out in section 3 of the Act.

The functions of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel are:

(a) the drafting of proposed laws for introduction into either House of the Parliament;

(b) the drafting of amendments of proposed laws that are being considered by either House of the Parliament; and

(c) functions incidental to the functions referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b).

1.2 Corporate objectives

The Office’s objectives are set out in the corporate plan.

Objectives:

• To provide a timely and high quality service in the performance of its functions.

• To make legislation as clear as possible, consistently with maintaining precision.

• To promote the development of new approaches to legislative drafting to reflect changes in legal policy and in the expectations of the community.

1

•

To pursue staff development so that the best use is made of the human resources available to the Office and career advancement opportunities for all staff are enhanced.

• To promote the efficient and effective management of all the resources of the Office.

1.3 Structure of the report

The main body of this report is divided into Parts. The larger Parts are divided into numbered items.

The following is an outline of the main features of this report:

• Part 2 reports on the highlights of th e year.

• Part 3 reports on the Office’s p ro g ram perform ance.

• Part 4 sets out a corporate overview for the Office and includes information about the following matters:

— structure and senior management;

— significant developments in the management of the Office;

— social justice and equity (including workplace diversity and equal employment opportunity);

— external scrutiny (including by parliamentary committees);

— client satisfaction.

• Part 5 reports on the Office’s industrial dem ocracy activities (participative work practices).

• Part 6 reports on the Office’s occupational health and safety activities.

• Part 7 reports on the Office’s freedom of inform ation activities.

• Part 8 reports on the Office’s advertising and m ark et research activities.

• Part 9 sets out the Office’s contact officer for additional inform ation.

• A staffing overview for the Office is set out in Appendix C.

2

• A glossary of abbreviations and other terms used in this report is set out in Appendix D.

• The Office’s financial statements are set out in Appendix E.

3

2

Highlights of the year

2.1 Legislation

The Office drafted a large volume of legislation in accordance with the government’s priorities (see item 3.5). Major projects included:

• the Native Title Amendment Bill 1997, and a large volume of parliamentary amendments of that Bill;

• the Television Broadcasting Services (Digital Conversion) Bill 1998, to provide for the introduction of digital television broadcasting;

• the Telstra (Transition to Full Public Ownership) Bill 1998, to provide for the sale of the remaining government interest in Telstra;

• the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Pension Bonus Scheme) Bill 1998, to provide for a bonus to be payable to people who remain in the workforce after becoming eligible for an age pension;

• a package of Bills to implement the first stage of reforms arising out of the Financial System Inquiry (the Wallis Inquiry);

• the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Bill 1998. to make significant changes to current arrangements for the protection of the Australian environment and the conservation of Australia’s biodiversity.

2.2 Feedback on legislation

The Public Service Bill, drafted in the Office in the 1996-97 year, was considered by the Joint Committee on Public Accounts. The Committee’s report quoted a submission from Dr Phillipa Weeks, who said of the Bill:

Not least o f its virtues is the admirably direct and succinct statement o f the essential characteristics o f public service ... Praise is due ...to the drafters, who have produced a Bill which is almost breathtaking in its lucidity and simplicity ....

4

3

Program performance

3.1 Financial statements

Full financial statements relating to the operation of the Office during the year are published with this report (Appendix E).

3.2 Program structure

3.2.1 Description

For the purposes of the financial statements, the Office administered, within Program 2 of the Attorney-General’s portfolio (“Legal Services to the Commonwealth”), a sub-program entitled “Sub-program 2.3 Office of Parliamentary Counsel”. The objective of the sub-program and a description of its features are set out below.

Sub-program 2.3—Office of Parliamentary Counsel

Objective

• To enable the Government to carry out its legislative program, and (subject to Government priorities) to assist private members with their legislative requirements, by drafting Bills and amendments of Bills and supplying them to the Parliament.

Description

• Before each Parliamentary sittings, the Government formulates the program of Bills that it requires to be drafted for the sittings. Since it may not be possible for all Bills on the program to be drafted, a drafting priority is given to each Bill.

• On the basis of this program, Departments or other agencies instruct drafters in the Office on the policy to be effected by the proposed Bills. The drafters consider the constitutional and legal background against which the legislation is to be framed, analyse the policy and determine the structure of the legislation. Then they draft the legislation in terms intended to give effect, as precisely as possible, to the policy in as clear a manner as is possible.

5

•

When a Bill is finally drafted, copies are obtained from the Government Printer (AGPS) in sufficient numbers for consideration by the Parliament.

• If the Government decides to amend Bills during their passage through the Parliament, drafters in the Office prepare the necessary amendments and provide sufficient copies to the Parliament.

3.2.2 Achievement of performance targets from Portfolio Budget Statement

The Office achieved all the performance targets set out in the Attorney- General’s Portfolio Budget Statement for 1997-98 (Sub-program 2.3) to at least a satisfactory standard. The following table gives more information on specific targets, including cross-references to other relevant parts of this report.

Performance target Relevant parts

of the report Comments

(a) to draft all Bills on the Government’s legislative program that are classified as “time critical”, and to draft those Bills so that they are available to be passed by the Parliament in the Sittings in which they are introduced;

Item 3.5.2

(b) to draft as many of the other Bills on the Government’s legislation program as resources permit;

Item 3.5.2

(c) to draft amendments of Bills required by the Government in accordance with the Government’s priorities;

Item 3.5.3 Amendments were drafted in accordance with the Government's priorities.

6

P

erformance target Relevant parts

of the report Comments

(d) to draft as many Bills, and amendments of Bills, for private members as resources permit;

Item 3.5.2 The private member’s Bill drafted by the Office during the year was the only one that the Office was asked to

draft. Office staff gave informal advice about other private members’ Bills and amendments to parliamentary staff on request.

(e) to draft each Bill and amendment so as to give effect to the intentions of its sponsors;

Item 4.11 Client feedback

indicates that all clients believed that the Bills and amendments drafted by the Office gave effect to the intentions of those

clients.

(f) to draft new Bills, and to redraft existing Acts, as simply as possible, to the extent that this

is consistent with the targets set out in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (e);

Item 3.8 and 4.11

(g) to rewrite business regulatory Acts and other Acts through the Regulatory Review Unit and the Legislation Review Unit;

Item 3.6

(h) to participate in the work of the tax and corporations law revision project teams to the

extent that resources permit;

Item 3.7

7

P

erformance target Relevant parts Comments

_____________________________ of the report______________

(i) to continue to explore new Items 3.8, 3.9.1 methods of making legislation and 4.5.1 more readable and useable, including by: • adopting techniques

developed by the Corporations Task Force and the Tax Law Improvement Project; • maintaining the free exchange

of relevant information and ideas both within the Office and with outside experts; • refining methods of handling drafting instructions and developing drafts; and • engaging consultants to test samples of draft legislation;

During the year, there were no requests from Parliamentary

Committees for such assistance.

(j) to provide an appropriate level of assistance to Parliamentary Committees in their consideration of Bills;

(k) to manage Bills production Item 3.10.1 processes so that the production of Bills for the Parliament continues to be timely and economical having regard to the proposed outsourcing of printing

work currently handled by AGPS;

8

P

erformance target Relevant parts Comments

of the report

(1) to maintain a high level of Items 3.3, 3.4 productivity and effectiveness by and 4.5 and paying proper attention to the

general training and development needs of staff and generally by promoting the proper management of all resources of

the Office.

Appendix E

3.3 Financial and staffing resources summary

Budgetary (Cash) Basis

Components of appropriations

Running costs

Less adjustments

Total Outlays Total Revenue

Staffing

Staff years (actual)

* Budget figures amended to include Additional Estimates

$(’000) and actual staff years

Actual

(1996-97)

Budget* (1997-98)

Actual

(1997-98)

6,118 7407 5835

748 691 605

5370 0

6,716 0

5,230 0

47.1 47.0 41.1

9

3.4

Summary table of resources

Reconciliation of program and appropriation elements for 1997-98 Sub-program 2.3

This table details the actual appropriations received by the Office during the year.

$ (’000)

A+ B+ C+ D= E — F =G

Approp Bills Nos 1 and 3

Approp Bills Nos 2 and 4

Special Approps

Annotated Approps* Program Approps

Adjusts** Program outlays

6,721 0 0 598 7,319 605 6,714

Annotated Appropriations are a form of special appropriation to allow a Department or agency access to the money it earns or receives by way of reimbursement.

1 ‘ Adjustments to derive outlays include receipt items classified as outlays.

3.5 The legislation program

3.5.1 The programming approach

The programming approach used by the Parliamentary Business Committee of the Cabinet (PBC) involves dividing the legislation planned for a parliamentary sittings into 4 categories.

• Category T ( ‘time critical’ ’): These Bills are intended to be introduced and passed in a single sittings.

• Category A: Most important after Category T. Generally intended for introduction but not passage.

• Category B: Next most important. Generally intended for introduction but not passage.

10

• Category C: Less important, or less likely to be ready for introduction (e.g. because final policy is dependent on the findings of a review that will not be completed until late in the sittings).

Some Bills in Categories A, B and C may not be intended for introduction in the sittings concerned. These are Bills that are very large, or are required for consultation purposes well before introduction.

Drafting of such Bills needs to be started well before the sittings proposed for introduction.

First Parliamentary Counsel, in managing the drafting resources of the Office, applies this categorisation strictly. Subject to the possibility of achieving extra efficiencies through, for instance, deferring the drafting of a particular Bill until a drafter who is an expert in the relevant field is available to work on it, Bills are drafted in order of priority. That is,

Category T Bills are drafted in preference to Category A Bills, which are drafted in preference to Category B Bills, and so on.

Drafters usually have several Bills of different categories allotted to them at the same time, so that some work may be done on lower category Bills during lulls in the higher category work (for instance while clients are considering a first draft of the higher category Bill).

This appears to be the most efficient way of ensuring that the maximum amount of the Government’s legislation program is drafted and, more importantly, that the Bills that do get drafted are those that the Government (as represented by PBC) regards as most important.

However, work may not start on Category B or C Bills (or even some A Bills) for some weeks or even months into the sittings. This can be a source of dissatisfaction to departmental officers who have lodged their drafting instructions before the end of the preceding sittings.

To the extent that this is a problem, an obvious solution would be to increase the drafting resources of the Office. However, having regard to the existing pressures on parliamentary time, it may be that the limit on the volume of legislation resulting from limits on legislative drafting resources is not in fact a problem.

3.5.2 Bills

During the year the Office prepared 219 Bills (totalling more than 8,500 pages) which were introduced into the Parliament.

11

Several other Bills were drafted and exposed for public or industry comment. A number of other Bills were largely drafted and then deferred or abandoned due to changes in policy or other events.

Following is a breakdown of work on the legislation program for each parliamentary sittings during 1997-98.

For each sittings, the table shows, for each category of Bills on the program:

• the number of Bills introduced;

• the number of Bills for which no instructions were received; and

• the number of Bills which were not able to be finished even though timely instructions were received.

Apart from the numbers of Bills introduced, totalling the numbers shown for the year may be misleading as there is some overlap in these numbers from sittings to sittings (e.g. the same Bill may be included under the heading ‘Bills for which no instructions were received’ for 2 or even all sittings during the year).

Following the table for each sittings is a narrative account of the fate of some of the introduced Bills, and other Bills on the program not shown in the table.

12

Spring sittings 1997 (August— December 1997)

Category Bills

introduced Bills for which no instructions were received

Bills which were not able to be finished even though timely instructions were

received

T 65 2 0

A 38 10 0

B 7 25 7

C 1 17 9

Totals 111 54 16

Category T (‘time critical’)

• 52 of the Bills introduced were passed during the Spring sittings.

• 3 Bills were drafted and then deferred or abandoned.

Category A

• 4 Bills were drafted and then deferred or abandoned.

• 3 Bills were substantially drafted but could not be finished because policy issues were not settled before the end of the sittings.

• Progress was made on 5 Bills.

• The sponsoring agencies or other relevant agencies failed to provide comments or further instructions for 2 Bills.

Category B

• One Bill was drafted and then deferred.

• The sponsoring agencies or other relevant agencies failed to provide comments or further instructions on 4 Bills.

13

S

ome progress was made on one substantial legislative project involving a number of Bills.

Autumn sittings 1998 (March— April 1998)

Category Bills

introduced Bills for which no instructions were received

Bills which were not able to be finished even though timely instructions were

received

T 17 0 0

A 40 18 5

B 3 13 14

C 0 15 4

Totals 60 46 23

Category T (‘time critical’)

• 9 of the Bills introduced were passed during the Autumn sittings.

Category A

• 4 Bills were drafted and then deferred.

• A large Bill was drafted for public exposure.

• Progress was made on 9 Bills.

14

Winter sittings 1998 (May—July 1998)

Category Bills

introduced Bills for which no instructions were received

Bills which were not able to be finished even though timely instructions were received

T 22 0 0

A 24 15 1

B 1 17 12

C 0 11 5

Totals 48 43 18

Category T (‘time critical’)

• 15 of the Bills introduced were passed during the Autumn sittings.

• One Bill was drafted and then deferred.

Category A

• 12 Bills were drafted and then deferred.

Category B

• 2 Bills were drafted and then deferred.

• Progress was made on 3 Bills.

Private member’s Bill

One private member’s Bill was drafted in the Office, on instructions from the relevant policy department, for introduction during the Winter sittings.

15

3

.5.3 Parliamentary amendments

The Office keeps records of the numbers of parliamentary amendments drafted and the proportion of those amendments required to correct drafting errors in the Bills concerned. These figures are set out below. They relate to the numbers of amendments drafted in the Office, not all of which are moved in the Parliament.

There were fewer amendments drafted during the year than in 1996-97, but the number drafted still represents a substantial use of drafting resources. The proportion of amendments prepared to correct drafting errors remained low, while the proportion of amendments implementing new policy rose substantially. This rise can probably be explained by the expectation that an election would be held during 1998; this provided an added incentive for the sponsors of legislation to use a Bill already in the Parliament as the vehicle for dealing with new policy (rather than go through the relatively lengthy process of introducing and passing a new Bill).

No amendments were drafted during the year specifically for private members. However, a number of amendments were drafted on instructions from departmental officers on the basis that, as part of the process of negotiating the Bill concerned through the Parliament, the amendments might be given to non-government members for them to

move during debate.

16

Parliamentary amendments

Type of amendment Amendments drafted (% of total) 1997-98

Amendments drafted (% of total) 1996-97

Amendments drafted (% of total) 1995-96

Government—policy change 1060 (67.7) 1461 (75.2) 399 (88.9)

Government— new policy 395 (25.2) 164 (8.4) 28 (6.2)

Government— correction of drafting errors

110 (7.0) 154 (7.9) 18 (4.0)

Private members— policy change/new policy

0 (0) 164 (8.4) 4 (0.9)

Totals 1565 (100) 1943 (100) 449 (100)

3.6 Regulatory Review Unit and Law Revision Unit

These 2 units were funded under government decisions of previous years. The Regulatory Review Unit is intended to provide the Office with capacity to rewrite business regulatory legislation with a view to improving the legislation and reducing red tape. The Law Revision Unit

is intended to provide the Office with capacity to rewrite other legislation with a view to making improvements.

The positions so far filled using funding provided for these units have not been designated as belonging to separate units in the Office. The people appointed to the positions will not be permanently assigned to rewrite projects. Rather, particular drafting teams will be designated to handle regulatory review work, or law revision work, for a limited period

(probably from 6 to 18 months). This will ensure that there is cross­ fertilisation between rewrite drafting and the other drafting work of the Office. In particular, it will mean:

• that all members of the Office have an opportunity to work with the improved drafting approaches that are often developed by rewrite

17

t

eams (because they do not have to deal so frequently with the drafting difficulties caused by late policy changes); and

• that drafters working on rewrites do not lose touch with the problems of day-to-day drafting and produce, for instance, beautifully- constructed new Acts which turn out to be very difficult to amend.

This approach also takes account of the fact that in several recent cases, rewrite projects which have been under consideration for some time receive a new impetus from major policy changes in the area. In other

words, the process of rewriting an existing Act increasingly seems to involve a combination of new policy and new drafting approaches that cannot easily be classified purely as an exercise in improving the drafting of existing legislation. For instance, rewrites of the export market development grants legislation and legislation relating to aged care had been planned for some time, but became urgent last year as a result of budget decisions requiring substantial amendments of the existing legislation. In each case, the existing legislation was replaced with a new Act effecting new policy and using new drafting methods.

During the year we did not receive instructions for any projects expressly intended for the new units, although the Office handled a number of drafting projects which could appropriately have been assigned to one or other of the units. The drafters appointed to positions funded for the two units have so far been fully occupied with day-to-day drafting.

One Department is working on drafting instructions for a consolidation and rewriting project which it has nominated to be handled by the Law Revision Unit, and drafters within the Office are providing advice on the development of those drafting instructions. Several other agencies are currently considering rewrite projects which may be proposed as suitable tasks for the new units.

In early 1997, the Attorney-General initiated a project to identify and repeal redundant Acts as part of the statute stocktake program. The Statute Stocktake Bill 1998, which repealed around 100 redundant principal Acts, was drafted in early 1998 and introduced on 1 July 1998.

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3

.7 Drafting teams outposted to work on special projects

3.7.1 The Corporate Law Economic Reform Program

In March 1997. the Treasurer launched the Corporate Law Economic Reform Program (C LER P). The main objective of the program is to give a new economic focus to Australia’s corporate law. The areas identified for initial work were:

• fundraising;

• takeovers;

• futures and securities markets;

• directors’ duties;

• electronic commerce;

• accounting standards.

The task of rewriting the Corporations Law in order to simplify it was subsumed within CLERP and, as a result, the Office drafting team previously assigned to rewrite the Corporations Law has now been seconded to the Treasury to work on the CLERP project.

The CLERP drafting team consisted of:

• Vince Robinson, a First Assistant Parliamentary Counsel;

• Roger Jacobs, a Legal 2.

A draft Bill dealing with the fundraising, takeovers, directors’ duties and accounting standards topics was exposed for public comment in early April 1998. A Bill dealing with these topics, the Corporate Law Economic Reform Bill 1998, was introduced on 2 July 1998.

The Company Law Review Bill 1998 (dealing with the topics of company registration, company names, types of companies, class rights, meetings, shares, share capital, capital reductions, dividends, self­ acquisition, financial assistance for purchasing shares, financial

statements, annual returns, deregistration and registrable bodies) was introduced in December 1997 and passed in June 1998. It commenced on 1 July. The CLERP team prepared government amendments to the Bill

dealing with the Single Entry Point, and a small companion Bill, the Corporations Legislation Amendment Bill 1998.

19

D

uring the year the CLERP team has become involved in Treasury portfolio legislation outside the CLERP program— particularly legislation that requires amendment of the corporations national scheme laws. The team assumed responsibility for finalising the Managed Investments Bill

1997 which was introduced in December 1997 and passed in June 1998. The team also prepared the Payment Systems and Netting Bill 1998, which was introduced in April 1998 and passed in June 1998, and contributed to the preparation of the Financial Sector Reform Bills.

3.7.2 The Tax Law Improvement Project

In December 1993, the then Treasurer established the Tax Law Improvement Project (TLIP ) to rewrite the Income Tax Assessment Act. The project team was headed by Brian Nolan of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) until his retirement in May 1998.

The drafters seconded from this Office to the project team during the year were:

• Thomas Reid, Second Parliamentary Counsel;

• Kathryn Cole (a Legal 2);

• Sandra Power (a Legal 2 from the Office of General Counsel in the Attorney-General’s Department, on temporary transfer to this Office from September 1997 until June 1998).

During the year the Tax Law Improvement Bill (No. 2) 1997 was introduced into the Parliament. It was the largest instalment so far of the rewrite of the income tax law, and contained rewrites of the capital gains tax rules, several capital allowances, and the averaging regimes for primary producers and certain professionals. The Bill was later enacted as the Tax Law Improvement Act (No. 1) 1998.

During the year, the project team released the following publications:

• Exposure Draft No. 10 (Capital Gains Tax Part 1)

• Exposure Draft No. 11 (Capital Gains Tax Part 2)

• Exposure Draft No. 12 (Non-cash benefits; Deductions for company bad debts; Intellectual Property)

At the end of May, the ATO began to implement new arrangements for legislation work. These involve combining into a series of Law Design

20

a

nd Development teams the members of the TLIP team and the other legislation officers in the ATO (who were responsible for developing instructions to this Office for “business as usual” tax legislation). Each Law Design and Development team is allocated to one of the ATO’s business lines, so that those who design and develop the law work closely with those who will implement and administer it.

The main purpose of the new arrangements is to ensure that tax legislation is as easy as possible for the community to comply with. To help achieve this, the working methods and drafting techniques used by

TLIP are to be incorporated into the other work of the Law Design and Development teams, and will be further developed as required for "business as usual” tax legislation.

3.7.3 Effect on Office’s resources

Both the Corporations Law Economic Reform Program and the Tax Law Improvement Project are provided with funds to cover the secondments of drafters.

The Treasury funds a special SES Band 2 position for Vince Robinson, whose substantive position in the Office was filled on a temporary basis during the year by Peter Quiggin. Mr Quiggin’s substantive SES Band 1 position was not filled. The Treasury also funded the position occupied by Roger Jacobs.

The Australian Taxation Office funds the positions of all officers outposted to TLIP, except that Thomas Reid’s position is only funded at the SES Band 2 level. It has not been possible to ‘replace’ Mr Reid at any SES level.

To deal with the shortfall in resources caused by the secondments of senior drafters, the Office has engaged drafting consultants to draft Bills assigned by first Parliamentary Counsel from the Government’s legislation program. Throughout the year, Geoff Kolts of Freehill

Hollingdale and Page has been working for the Office. John McKenzie, a retired member of the Office, has been engaged as a drafting consultant. He works in the Office for 3 days each week. These consultancies are funded from the salary funds provided by the 2 project groups.

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3.8

Drafting style

The Office has a policy of drafting Bills as simply as possible without losing precision, accompanied by a commitment to continuous improvement of drafting styles and approaches.

Our current approach to the special class of documents drafted by the Office, namely Bills, is based on a recognition of two principles:

• That Bills may serve, or may be expected to serve, a number of different purposes, that there may be a conflict between serving those different purposes, and that the conflicts may need to be resolved in different ways for different kinds of Bills.

• That, in seeking to ensure that people are able to use Bills effectively, we may have to choose between a range of available drafting and communications approaches which may appear to conflict with each other, and that the conflicts among the many available approaches to drafting may need to be resolved in different ways for different kinds of Bills and for different kinds of provisions within a single Bill.

We are also constrained by the need to maintain some consistency in format across the statute book and, significantly, by the fact that Acts are not static documents but are regularly amended. This requires us to draft Bills so as to facilitate future amendments of the resulting Acts.

The possible purposes for a Bill (or the Act which it will become) include the following:

• to be the law;

• to communicate the proposed law to members of Parliament who must decide whether to pass it;

• to provide a manual for those responsible for administering the law;

• to provide instructions for those required to comply with, or entitled to benefit from, the law;

• to provide a general statement of policy intentions, leaving the details to be filled in by subordinate legislation, administrators or the courts;

• to provide a detailed statement of policy and procedures so as to minimise the influence of anyone other than the Parliament.

The possible approaches to the drafting of Bills include the following:

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apply the rules for good or clear writing (this covers rules such as favouring short words and short sentences, putting the main idea first, avoiding the passive voice, and keeping the subject of a sentence close to the verb);

• use an appropriate format (in early 1996, the Office adopted a new document design based on modern design principles and developed with the help of a number of communications and design experts);

• focus on reader needs, including through document testing and by taking account of research on reading techniques and information from cognitive psychology about matters such as short-term memory and the development of schemata to assist comprehension;

• ensure that the structure and organisation of Bills are coherent;

• use context or purpose-setting provisions to explain what is going on, such as objects provisions, simplified outlines, overview provisions and statements of key principles;

• use “linking” words to show relationships, such as “but”, “however”, “although” ;

• use “extrinsic aids”, such as subsection headings, notes, reader’s guides, and asterisks to identify defined terms;

• use diagrams, such as tables, flow-charts, concept maps and other graphics, for context-setting, as operative provisions or as extrinsic aids.

All legislation prepared in the Office uses a range of these approaches, as appropriate. The following recent Bills (some now Acts) contain good examples of particular approaches:

• Financial Sector (Shareholdings) Act 1998 (coherent structure, simplified outlines, subsection headings);

• Native Title Amendment Act 1998 (overview provisions, notes and examples);

• Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1998 (see clause 2 and item 4 of Schedule 2 for notes containing helpful explanations of technical provisions);

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• Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill 1998 (Schedule 1 is structured so as to deal with the most common cases first, and contains examples in proposed sections 146E and 146L);

• Crimes (Superannuation Benefits) Amendment Bill 1997 (simplified outline, subsection headings, notes);

• Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (No. 5) 1998 (see Schedule 8 for overview provision, tables, linking words, notes).

• Social Security Legislation Amendment (Youth Allowance) A ct 1998 (operative diagram in Schedule 2).

3.9 Other activities

3.9.1 Seminars

Each year the Office holds in-house seminars for staff. Many of the seminars are aimed at the continuing education and professional development of the drafting staff. This year seminars were held on:

• areas of Commonwealth law particularly relevant to drafters (such as recent developments in secrecy and privacy);

• various drafting issues.

For further information about the seminars held, see item 4.5 (Staff development).

3.9.2 Consolidation of drafting directions

During the year, work continued on updating and consolidating Drafting Directions (internal Office directions on matters relating to the drafting of Bills). Consolidated Directions were finalised dealing with Royal Assent procedures, referral of Bills to other agencies, and some matters relating to statutory authorities and statutory officers. As a result, 21 old Directions were withdrawn.

3.9.3 Client advising arrangements

Client advising arrangements continued in operation. Some agencies take full advantage of the availability of a source of quick, off-the-cuff advice

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on drafting matters, while other agencies do not seem to feel the need of such a service.

Currently, our major focus in client advising is in getting drafters involved in major legislative projects earlier than would traditionally have been the case. From the drafting perspective, the main benefit of such an approach is that policy-makers can make policy choices with some appreciation of their impacts on legislative and administrative structures. This often results in simpler or more coherent legislative structures, which are obviously easier, simpler and quicker to draft.

Simpler legislative structures are also generally more attractive to administrators and to other users.

As well, drafters can contribute substantial policy development and project management skills. In the case of especially large, difficult or urgent projects, the drafter’s contribution in these areas can often have a

major impact on the success of the project.

Projects which have involved early input from drafters include:

• the financial sector reform package of Bills, which implemented the first phase of the government’s response to the Financial System Inquiry (the Wallis Inquiry);

• the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Bill.

Drafters have also given advice on other projects which have not yet reached the draft Bill stage.

3.9.4 Legislation process courses

Since February 1994, the Office has been running a course called the Legislation Process course. The course is designed for people who want to gain a basic understanding, or to refresh their knowledge, of the process of making primary legislation. Eleven courses were held this year, with a total of 161 people attending. Feedback from participants

was enthusiastic, and demand for the courses continues to be heavy.

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3.9.5 Dealings with the States and Territories

First Parliamentary Counsel is a member of the Parliamentary Counsel’s Committee, which consists of the heads of the 10 drafting offices in Australia. This Committee meets several times each year, and handles work involving co-operative Commonwealth, State and Territory legislative schemes, and other projects aimed at increasing uniformity in State and Territory legislation dealing with similar matters.

Some of the Committee’s tasks are assigned by the Standing Committee of Attomeys-General, but others are assigned by other Ministerial Councils. During the year, the Committee considered, among others, Bills relating to national road transport reform, cross-vesting of jurisdiction and choice of law.

As well as work handled through the Parliamentary Counsel’s Committee, Bills are sometimes drafted in cooperation with particular State or Territory drafters. During the year, the Commonwealth drafters worked with drafters from other Australian jurisdictions on Bills dealing with gas pipelines, and slavery and sexual servitude.

The Parliamentary Counsel’s Committee Information Technology Forum met in Hobart in August 1997. Representatives of most Australian drafting offices, as well as representatives of the New Zealand

Parliamentary Counsel Office, attended.

The forum has provided the opportunity to discuss issues related to information technology that are of common interest such as:

• electronic publication of legislation;

• strategic planning for information technology;

• teleworking and remote access to networks;

• computer-based research tools.

In particular, it has given the Office a network of people with an interest in information technology who can be contacted to discuss issues as they arise. We have found participation in the forum to be very useful.

In August 1997 Peter Quiggin, the Director of Information Technology, visited the Western Australian Parliamentary Counsel’s Office to advise on the upgrading of their computer network and Bills production system.

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.9.6 Overseas visits

In June 1998 Peter Quiggin, an acting First Assistant Parliamentary Counsel, went to the USA to participate in the Leadership fo r a Democratic Society course run by the Federal Executive Institute. A small number of Australian Public Service officers are chosen by the

Public Service and Merit Protection Commission each year to attend this course.

3.9.7 Overseas visitors

The Office received overseas visitors from various countries:

• Mr Tirtha Man Sakya, Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, Nepal.

• Mr Rupeni Nawaqakuta, Acting Second Parliamentary Counsel, Fiji, who spent 3 days in the Office in June and July 1998.

• Mr Charles Lim of the Legislation Division, and Mr Pang Khang Chau of the Civil Division, of the Singapore Attorney-General’s Department, who were particularly interested in the use of information technology in the drafting and printing of legislation.

• Mr Abdul Matin Khasru MP, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Bangladesh, who was interested in the possibility of the Office providing training to Bangladeshi legislative drafters.

Ms Louise Finucane, an acting Senior Assistant Parliamentary Counsel, participated in a presentation about the development of legislation to members of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of China, who were visiting Australia under the

1998 Australia/China Human Rights Technical Assistance Program.

3.10 Matters affecting the Office

3.10.1 Printing

In October 1997, the core printing work of the Australian Government Publishing Service (AGPS), including the printing of introduction copies of Bills, was sold to CanPrint Communications Pty Ltd. Under the terms of the sale, CanPrint was required to provide printing services to this

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ffice for 3 months, on the same terms and conditions as those previously provided by AGPS. Late in 1997, the Office agreed to continue to give its printing work to CanPrint during 1998. pending the finalisation of a proposed common use contract for printing services which was then under consideration in the Department of Finance and Administration.

Since it now appears that there will be no common use contract covering the Office’s printing requirements, we are considering our options for the future printing of Bills.

3.10.2 Review of the Attorney-General’s Department

The March 1997 review of the Attorney-General’ s Legal Practice recommended a substantial restructuring of the Legal Practice, including placing the legal service elements of the Practice into a separate organisational structure, the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS), for which the Attorney-General and the Minister for Finance would be jointly responsible.

This recommendation has now been implemented administratively, pending Senate consideration of the necessary legislative changes.

The Office has frequent dealings with some of the legal service elements of the AGS (in particular the Office of General Counsel); so far the re­ organisation has had no significant impact on our dealings with either AGS or the Department, but arrangements for dealing with budget- funded work are still evolving and may have an impact in the future.

3.10.3 In-house access to consolidated text of legislation

Access to the consolidated text of Commonwealth legislation is a fundamental drafting tool. During the year, the Office changed its system for providing drafters with access to consolidated texts, in accordance with recommendations of an ad hoc Office committee. The primary source of consolidated texts is now the consolidations prepared by the Attorney-General’s Department (known as “Consol reprints”). For Acts that are not available as Consol reprints, consolidations prepared by commercial publishers are relied on. The Office no longer prepares consolidations in-house.

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he new system relies heavily on the availability of up-to-date consolidations produced by the Attorney-General’s Department under a new program. It provides drafters with an accurate and up-to-date source of consolidated Commonwealth legislation, in electronic form and in

hard copy if required. The availability of authoritative consolidated texts in a form which enables electronic searching will provide efficiencies in the drafting process.

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Corporate overview

4.1 Structure and senior management

Information about the Office’s program structure is set out in item 3.2.

The senior management structure of the Office at 30 June 1998 is set out on the following page.

The Second Parliamentary Counsel, and all substantive SES officers, work directly to First Parliamentary Counsel.

4.2 Senior staffing changes

The statutory offices were filled as follows throughout the year:

First Parliamentary Counsel: Hilary Penfold

Second Parliamentary Counsel: Thomas Reid

Second Parliamentary Counsel: Kerry Jones

In March 1998, Pierre Le Guen, a First Assistant Parliamentary Counsel, left the Office to take up an appointment with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Camilla Webster was directed to act in the vacant position.

Further information about staffing changes in the Office is set out in item 4.4 and Appendix C.

4.3 Working arrangements

4.3.1 Drafting teams

Drafters work in drafting teams consisting of drafters and clerical support staff. Some of the teams involve only 2 lawyers (an SES drafter and a non-SES drafter) but others involve 3 or even 4 lawyers working together in a variety of arrangements.

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H

ilary Penfold

First Parliamentary Counsel

Tom Reid Kerry Jones

Second Parliamentary Second Parliamentary

Counsel # Counsel

Keith Byles Steve Reynolds lain McMillan Vince Robinson *

FAPC FAPC FAPC FAPC

Camilla Webster (Acting) FAPC

Paul Lanspeary FAPC

Peter Quiggin (Acting) FAPC

Adrian Van Wierst FARC

Louise Finucane (Acting) SAPC

Stephen Mattingley SAPC '

Jonathan Woodger (Acting) SAPC

Vacant Vacant Vacant

SAPC SAPC SAPC

# = on secondment to Tax Law Improvement Project * = on secondment to Corporate Law Economic Reform Program FAPC = First Assistant Parliamentary Counsel ISES Band 2) SAPC = Senior Assistant Parliamentary Counsel (SES Band 1)

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wo or more drafting teams worked together on some of the larger Bills drafted in the Office during the year, such as the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Youth Allowance Consequential and Related Measures) Bill and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Bill.

4.3.2 Senior management meetings

Towards the end of the year, senior management meetings began to be held regularly, involving all the statutory officers and SES officers. These provided a forum to discuss the work on the legislation program, drafting issues, matters relating to the administration of the Office and issues involving the relationship between the Office and other parts of government.

4.3.3 Restructuring of the Administration Section

In June 1996, consultations began with staff on a proposal to restructure the Administration Section into functional teams. The proposal had been developed after a review of the operations of the legislation area of that section, and also took account of subsequent changes arising out of the offer of redundancy packages. The restructure was partly implemented, informally, while consultations proceeded.

Agreement was reached about the restructuring proposal, but a long-running dispute with the CPSU about the filling of a key position in the restructured Section delayed the formal implementation of the new structure. The final position within the Section was filled in September

1997 and the formal implementation of the restructure was completed in December 1997.

4.4 Recruitment and resources

4.4.1 Drafting staff

In November 1997, a number of drafting positions at the Legal 1 level were advertised. Two applicants from outside the Australian Public Service were appointed in February 1998.

One SES Band 1 position in the Office has been vacant throughout the year. Two other SES Band 1 positions were effectively vacant while their

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ccupants acted in other positions (in one case for the whole year). As well, no-one has been acting in Thomas Reid’s Second Parliamentary Counsel position during his secondment to the Tax Law Improvement Project. In other words, 4 out of 16 senior drafting positions in the Office were not

filled for some or all of the year.

4.4.2 Other staff

Three non-drafting positions were the subject of recruitment action during the year. The Assistant Executive Officer (ASO 5) position was filled in September 1997, the Editorial Assistant (ASO 4) position was filled in March 1998 and the Finance Officer (ASO 3) position was

advertised in May 1998 with the successful applicant expected to take up the position in September 1998.

4.5 Staff development

4.5.1 Training—drafting skills

Seminars on matters relevant to drafting have been presented by drafters and others with relevant expertise. Topics covered by the seminars included:

• the drafter’s role in developing the content of legislation;

• a report on testing sessions on the use of definitions in the Corporations Law and on the asterisking system used by the Tax Law Improvement Project for noting defined terms;

• context and meaning;

• the financial management package of legislation;

• secrecy provisions in legislation;

• privacy legislation;

• use of simplified outlines;

• economics and drafting;

• use of asterisks to identify defined terms;

• “thinking with pictures”.

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.5.2 Training— continuing legal education

During the year, drafters attended an Attorney-General’ s Department forum on developments in constitutional law.

4.5.3 Training— information technology

The Office has provided a great deal of information technology training to ensure that staff are able to make the best use of the resources that they are provided with. Nearly all of this training has been provided in-house. This has been found to be cost-effective and means that training can be focused on the particular needs of our staff.

Some training was also provided to staff from other organisations involved in the production of Bills to ensure that they could efficiently use the Bill production system developed in the Office.

Training was provided in the following areas:

• introduction to the Office’s computer system;

• Windows;

• Word for Windows;

• preparation of Bills using Word for Windows;

• ISYS (a text retrieval program used in the Office);

• TRIM (a file management system);

• Microsoft Office (Access, Excel and Powerpoint).

4.5.4 Staff Development Plan

During the year, the Staff Development Committee finalised a revised and updated Staff Development Plan.

4.6 Workplace bargaining

Early in 1998, the Office began consultations with staff about the processes for developing a certified agreement. Since May there have been regular meetings between management and staff and CPSU representatives to develop an agreement under section 170LK of the

Workplace Relations A ct 1996. Reasonable progress has been made so far.

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he proposed agreement will cover all staff including SES officers. After the completion of the agreement process, the SES will be offered Australian Workplace Agreements.

4.7 Workplace diversity, equal employment opportunity, social justice and equity within the Office

4,7.1 Workplace diversity within the Office

The Office is moving towards developing and implementing a Workplace Diversity Program. The PSM PC's Guidelines on Managing Diversity require that Workplace Diversity Programs be completed by the end of August 1998. The Office’s Equal Employment Opportunity Program will be implemented until the Workplace Diversity Program is finalised. A copy of the Equal Employment Opportunity Program can be supplied on

request.

Five permanent officers worked part-time during the year. Two of the officers asked to work part-time to help them balance work and family responsibilities. One officer asked to work part-time to enable the officer to pursue personal interests.

Computer equipment was provided at the homes of 8 officers in order to assist them to balance work and family responsibilities.

A Workplace Diversity Committee was established in July 1997 to examine workplace diversity issues within the Office. The Committee designed and conducted a survey of all staff about workplace diversity issues. The purposes of the survey were:

• to assist in preparing the Office’s Workplace Diversity Program;

• to provide information that could be used by both staff and management in discussions about likely changes to employment conditions (for example, through a certified agreement or AWAs).

The survey results were collated and provided to First Parliamentary Counsel and to all staff early in 1998.

In the first half of 1998, the Committee began work on drafting the Office’s Workplace Diversity Program. The Committee also began

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xamining the Office’s draft certified agreement with a view to commenting on it from a workplace diversity perspective.

4.7.2 Equal employment opportunity within the Office

The Office continued during the year to observe equal employment opportunity (EEO) principles in all employment matters. It has acted in accordance with the current EEO Program.

The following table contains the EEO data for the Office as at 30 June 1998. In respect of all EEO target groups other than women, the data is derived from the Continuous Record of Personnel. The response rate from staff to surveys to update the Continuous Record of Personnel is 82%. The data in respect of women is derived from general personnel records.

Staff numbers by EEO target group

Staff classification Total

staff

Women ATSI NESB1 NESB2 PWD

Administrative Service Officers and equivalent classifications ($23,938- $47,591)

19 13 1 - 2 -

Senior Officers and equivalent classifications ($50,931-$70,331)

17 9 - 1 - -

Senior Executive Service Officers ($68,228- $101,217)

10 1 - 1 1 1

Statutory office holders ($128,045-$ 156,473) 3 1 - - - -

Totals 49 24 1 2 3 1

ATSI NESB1 NESB2

PWD

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Non-English-speaking background, first generation Non-English-speaking background, second generation Person with a disability

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he table indicates that the Office has already met the EEO strategic plan indicators for employment of target groups by the year 2000 in respect of:

• Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders (currently 2.0%); and

• women in Senior Officer Grades A and B and equivalent positions (currently 55.5%).

Although the employment of women in the Senior Executive Service remains marginally below the 1995 target of 15%, the representation of women in the feeder group would indicate that the year 2000 target of 20% should be achieved.

4.8 Social justice and equity in the work of the Office

The Office has no involvement in Government decisions to legislate, nor in the formulation of Government policy in broad terms. There is little scope for the Office to give effect to the Charter o f Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society in administering the sub-program covering the Office’s operations, because almost all of the services the Office provides

are provided to the Government.

However, in drafting Bills, the Office has some opportunity to further social justice and equity.

• The Office has a role in ensuring that Bills raising various legal issues are referred for consideration by the Attorney-General’s Department. Relevant legal issues include intrusions on privacy, other threats to human rights, the need for administrative or judicial review and the availability of legal aid.

• The Office advises instructing agencies about proposed legislative provisions that may attract adverse comment from the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills (see Senate Standing Order 24 for the Committee’s terms of reference). Often the drafter’s warning is enough to persuade the instructing agency to drop its proposal.

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•

The Office continues to work on improving the accessibility of legislation through improved drafting approaches (see item 3.8). It should be noted that efforts are entirely focused on improving the drafting of laws in English. Any plan to make Commonwealth laws available in other languages would have massive resource implications and the benefits would be questionable.

• The Office regularly drafts a substantial volume of legislation concerned with income protection, education, health and related matters.

4.9 Internal scrutiny

4.9.1 Work Environment Initiative

Early in the year, an ad hoc committee was formed to manage the Work Environment Initiative. This initiative was intended to determine blocks within the Office to good team-working and high morale. It involved a series of focus group discussions, facilitated by an outside consultant and involving all staff of the Office. In the focus groups, staff were invited to express their views and perceptions about the Office as a place to work, and to propose solutions to any identified problems.

At the end of the process, the committee produced a report containing recommendations for addressing the identified problems.

A number of the recommendations have been implemented, or further discussed in the context of workplace bargaining. Some of the recommendations are still being considered within the Office.

4.9.2 Legal Assistants

Legal Assistants in the Office provide secretarial support, and a variety of other support relating to Bills production, to the drafters.

Several Legal Assistants retired or resigned in 1997 and informal consultations between management and Legal Assistants were held about how the Office could most efficiently provide Legal Assistant support to the drafters. A number of proposals were discussed and one is being considered in workplace bargaining negotiations.

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.9.3 Audit Committee

An Audit Committee for the Office has been established in accordance with section 46 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. The Committee consists of two SES officers with no day-to-day involvement in the Office’s financial management. Given the small size of the Office, it was decided that no “independent” members were

needed, but the Committee has power to seek outside advice at its discretion.

4.9.4 Review of selection documents for drafting positions

The Office engaged Paul Hartigan, of Executive Choice, to review and rewrite the duty statements and selection criteria for drafting positions within the Office. Mr Hartigan interviewed a number of the senior drafters and compiled a detailed description of the drafting task and of the qualities, skills and experience required of a drafter. His preliminary draft was refined through discussions with all drafters in the Office, and

is about to be finalised.

As well as providing a more rigorous framework for the selection of drafters, the new selection documents provide useful guidance for newer members of the Office who are considering whether to pursue a career in

legislative drafting, or how to focus their development efforts.

4.10 External scrutiny

Few external bodies reported on matters directly concerning the Office during the year.

4.10.1 Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills

The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills examines all Bills introduced into the Parliament for breaches of principles set out in the Committee’s terms of reference. These principles relate to the operation rather than the drafting of Bills.

4.10.2 Parliamentary Committees

Many Bills are referred to other committees of the Parliament. Except in unusual cases, these committees do not concern themselves with the drafting of Bills. The Office is not aware of any reports by such

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ommittees this year that relate specifically to the drafting of the Bills concerned.

4.10.3 Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee

In March 1998 the Committee reported on its examination of annual reports (Report No. 1 of 1998), including the Office’s Annual Report for 1996-97. The Committee did not comment specifically on the Office’s report, but considered that, with a qualification relating to another authority’s report, “the annual reports of statutory authorities examined in this report are otherwise satisfactory”.

4.10.4 Audit Reports

The Audits o f the Financial Statements o f Commonwealth Entities for 1996- 97 (Audit Report No. 22, 1997-98) stated that an unqualified audit report was issued to the Office in relation to the year 1996-97.

The Aggregate Financial Statement prepared by the Minister fo r Finance and Administration, Year ended 30 June 1997 (Audit Report No. 31, 1997- 98) included figures for the Office.

4.11 Client satisfaction

The Office tests client satisfaction using a client feedback form developed in the Office. The form was developed mainly for SES performance appraisal purposes, but also provides useful information about Office performance in general.

The feedback form is sent to instructors for all Bills completed during a Sittings. It asks about the following matters:

• the Office’s initial handling of instructions;

• the drafting team’s handling of instructions;

• the drafting team’s dealings with instructors;

• the drafting processes;

• the drafting product;

• the overall service.

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lients are asked to indicate their responses, mostly using a 5 point scale on which 1 is the worst rating and 5 is the best (a few questions require a yes/no answer or a qualitative response). Clients are also invited to comment on the various matters covered by the form.

The feedback received for 1997-98 indicates a continuing high degree of client satisfaction with the work of the drafting teams. Positive feedback was received about all drafting teams, and almost all respondents indicated that they would be pleased (rather than just neutral) about having the same drafting team allocated to their next project. This

suggests that, at the least, drafting teams and clients are being well- matched when work is allocated within the Office and, possibly, that there is no significant variation in the quality of work produced across the Office and that all that work is performed to a high standard.

The client feedback indicated a high level of satisfaction with the product of the drafting process. Responses to the question “How effectively does the Bill implement your policy?” averaged well over 4 on the 1-5 rating scale.

The client feedback forms drew very low levels of negative comments, but perhaps enough to suggest that, where clients are dissatisfied with aspects of our service, they do not feel constrained about giving appropriate feedback.

Client satisfaction is not universal as regards the speed with which drafting instructions are allocated to the drafting teams. A few clients responsible for lower priority Bills (see item 3.5.1) felt that their projects should have been allocated for drafting earlier than they were. On the

other hand, clients responsible for urgent and unforeseen Bills were particularly impressed with the Office’s responsiveness and flexibility.

The Office continued to receive unsolicited expressions of satisfaction and appreciation from clients. During the year, satisfied clients included:

Australian Industrial Property Organisation Child Support Agency Department of Communications and the Arts Department of Health and Family Services

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Department of Industry, Science and Tourism Department of Primary Industries and Energy

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epartment of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Department of Social Security Department of Transport and Regional Development The Treasury

Department of Workplace Relations and Small Business.

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5 Industrial democracy (participative work practices)

5.1 Principles and aims

The Office of Parliamentary Counsel is committed to:

• the fullest possible participation by staff members in Office decisions; and

• the fullest possible control by staff members over their work, work practices and working environment.

The Office of Parliamentary Counsel believes that a highly participative approach to management will:

• improve the quality of decision-making;

• improve staff morale and performance;

• enrich the working lives of staff members.

The Office of Parliamentary Counsel encourages each staff member to make an active contribution to the development of industrial democracy practices within the Office.

5.2 The Industrial Democracy Plan

The current plan, which includes the principles and aims set out above, commenced on 1 January 1994, after consultation with the then Public Sector Union.

The main consultative mechanism provided for by the plan is a regular staff meeting. The plan requires a staff meeting to be held at least once a year. During the year 9 staff meetings were held.

The plan also provides for:

• 2 staff-elected industrial democracy officers (currently one is a member of the legal staff and the other is a member of the non-legal staff); and

• a staff-elected grievance officer (currently a member of the legal staff).

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ll these officers are based in MTA House.

The main function of the industrial democracy officers is to call and chair staff meetings. They also help to disseminate general information on industrial democracy issues to staff in the Office.

No progress was made on a revised Industrial Democracy Framework (foreshadowed in the annual report for 1996-97). This issue is now being considered in the context of workplace bargaining (see item 4.6).

The grievance officer is a first point of reference for a staff member with a grievance. The grievance officer collects information about the grievance and arranges to have the grievance taken up with the appropriate people. During the year, no grievances were raised.

5.3 Staff meetings

General meetings of staff are held approximately once a month. These meetings have a core agenda that includes:

• a report from First Parliamentary Counsel on work flow and other general Office issues;

• reports from representatives of the various operational groups in the Office;

• reports from the Office committees;

• a report from the equal employment opportunity officer.

Each of these reports is followed by an opportunity for staff to raise issues or ask questions about the area concerned. At the end of the meeting, staff are invited to raise any other matters of concern or interest.

5.4 Office committees

The Office has 4 standing committees:

• the Staff Development Committee;

• the Occupational Health and Safety Committee;

• the Information Technology Committee;

• the Workplace Diversity Committee.

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hese committees make it possible for interested staff to become involved in decision-making in the areas within the jurisdiction of the committees.

The Staff Development Committee manages the Office’s staff development budget, oversees study assistance, designs in-house seminar programs and approves proposals for attendance at seminars and courses.

The Information Technology Committee is responsible for minor policy and purchasing decisions. It also provides advice to First Parliamentary Counsel on major policy decisions and on alterations to the Information

Technology Plan.

For further information about the Occupational Health and Safety Committee, see Part 6.

For further information about the Workplace Diversity Committee, see item 4.7.

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6.1 General

The Office is committed to a policy of ensuring at all times the health and safety of its staff. The Office’s health and safety policy is set out at Appendix A.

The Office also has an agreement in place with the CPSU for the purposes of subsection 16(3) of the Occupational Health and Safety {Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991. The agreement spells out the responsibilities of both management and staff regarding health and safety in the workplace.

A health and safety representative and a deputy held office throughout the year. Elections for new representatives are scheduled for August 1998.

The Office also has an Occupational Health and Safety Committee, which meets monthly.

6.2 Other activities

EASACT continues to provide a counselling service on a confidential basis to members of staff.

The induction program for new members of staff includes a session specifically aimed at enhancing their awareness of the importance of health and safety issues in the workplace and emphasising the responsibilities of both staff and management in that regard.

A physiotherapist visited the Office regularly to check whether furniture and equipment were ergonomically sound and to discuss any problems with members of staff.

The Office has continued to acquire publications for the occupational health and safety section in the library.

6 Occupational health and safety

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.3 Accidents and dangerous occurrences

There were no accidents or dangerous occurrences during the year requiring notification under section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991. The Office has not been the subject of any investigation by the Commission for the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation of Commonwealth Employees.

During the year, a number of minor hazardous situations in the Office’s premises were identified and appropriate action was taken. A full workplace inspection was conducted in January 1998.

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7 F

reedom of information

A functional statement in relation to the Office, as required by section 8 of the Freedom o f Information Act 1982, is set out in Appendix B to this report.

Section 9 of the Freedom o f Information Act 1982 requires copies of certain documents to be made available for inspection and purchase by members of the public. This Office does not have any documents to which that section applies.

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8

Advertising and market research

During the year, vacant positions within the Office were advertised in the print media and the Commonwealth Gazette. A total of $3,357 was paid to the Australian Government Publishing Service for Gazette entries, Telstra for electronic transfer of Gazette notices and TMP Worldwide for placement of advertisements in the print media.

No other advertising or market research was undertaken by the Office.

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9

Contact officer for additional information

Further information about the matters set out below (in relation to the operations of the Office) is available to members of Parliament and members of the public on request.

Requests should be made to the Executive Officer, who can be contacted by telephone on (02) 6270 1452 or fax on (02) 6270 1403.

Performance pay Training Activities for interchange of staff Financial matters:

Claims and losses Purchasing Information technology purchasing arrangements Payment of accounts Consultancy services Internal and external scrutiny:

Fraud control Reports by the Auditor-General Inquiries by Parliamentary Committees Comments by the Ombudsman Decisions of courts and tribunals Privacy Environmental matters Property usage.

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ppendix A: Occupational Health and Safety Policy Statement

The Office of Parliamentary Counsel commits itself to taking at all times reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of its staff.

In ensuring the health and safety of its staff, the Office will:

• provide and maintain a healthy and safe work environment;

• consult and co-operate with its staff and the Community and Public Sector Union to achieve a healthy and safe workplace, and in particular enter into an agreement with the union (the agreement) providing for the matters referred to in subsection 16(3) of the

Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991;

• comply with the Act as a minimum standard, and implement in full the requirements of the Act and its Regulations;

• ensure that appropriate organisational arrangements are in place to facilitate the implementation of the Act;

• provide appropriate resources to ensure that necessary health and safety programs and activities are established and maintained;

• ensure that occupational health and safety representatives are appropriately trained and have proper facilities for the discharge of their responsibilities;

• inform all staff about relevant occupational health and safety matters and provide that information in languages other than English where this might be necessary;

• include compliance with this policy in the Office’s Corporate Plan.

It is the responsibility of the Office and the Community and Public Sector Union to co-operate in implementing this policy in accordance with the agreement.

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ppendix B: Functional statement—Freedom of Information Act Functional statement in relation to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in accordance with section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act

B. 1 Establishment and organisation

The establishment and organisation o f the Office are dealt with in item 1.1 and Part 4 of this report.

B.2 Functions

A statement of the principal functions of the Office is set out in item 1.1 of this report. In the performance of its functions the Office receives instructions for the preparation of Bills or amendments of Bills from Commonwealth departments and agencies following the determination of policy measures by the Government. Members of the Office then draft the legislation necessary to give effect to that policy in consultation with those departments or agencies.

Drafting of subordinate legislation and instruments is performed by the Office of Legislative Drafting in the Attorney-General’s Department.

B.3 Categories of documents

The following categories of documents are kept by the Office:

• Copies of Cabinet documents and draft Cabinet documents.

• Correspondence between the Office and government departments or agencies about the preparation of Bills or amendments of Bills.

• Files consisting of successive drafts of Bills (or amendments of Bills) drafted for the Government or for private members of Parliament.

• Correspondence between the Office and private members of Parliament relating to Bills or amendments of Bills by the Office for those members.

• Manuals and other instructions relating to the drafting of legislation.

• Records and instructions kept for administrative purposes.

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• Ministerial and general correspondence.

• Copies of documents prepared in connection with obtaining messages by the Governor-General or Administrator under section 56 of the Constitution.

• Copies of documents prepared in connection with obtaining Royal Assent to Bills.

• Updated copies of some Acts of Parliament (“paste-ups”).

• Correspondence between the Office and officers of the States, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory about co-operative legislative action by the Commonwealth, the States, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory and similar

matters.

• Internal administrative papers and records.

B.4 Facilities for access

Facilities for examining documents (other than Commonwealth Acts and Bills introduced into the Parliament) and obtaining copies of such documents are available at the premises occupied by the Office, that is, at MTA House, 39 Brisbane Avenue, Barton A.C.T. 2600. The Office can be contacted by telephone on (02) 6270 1400.

Commonwealth Acts and introduced Bills may be bought from AGPS. The text of introduced Bills is also available via the Internet (www.aph.gov.au).

B.5 FOI procedures and initial contact points

Inquiries about access to documents or other matters relating to freedom of information should be directed to the First Parliamentary Counsel. Apart from the Attorney-General and the First Parliamentary Counsel,

the only officers authorised to deny access under the Freedom of Information Act to documents of the Office are the Second Parliamentary Counsel and the First Assistant Parliamentary Counsel.

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Appendix C: Staffing overview

C. 1 Staffing overview

The structure of the Office at 30 June 1998 was as follows:

Category Full­

time

Part­ time

Total Male Female

Statutory office holders 3 - 3 2 1

First Assistant Parliamentary Counsel (SES Band 2) 7 - 7 7 -

Senior Assistant Parliamentary Counsel (SES Band 1) 3 - 3 2 1

Assistant Parliamentary Counsel (Non-SES legal staff) 14 4 18 8 10

Staff engaged principally in clerical and administrative work (Administrative Service Officers and Senior Officers)

6 6 5 1

Staff engaged principally in key board work as Legal Assistants (Administrative Service Officers)

9 1 10 10

Librarian (Professional Officer Class 2) - 1 1 - 1

Information Technology Officer (Class 2)

1 - 1 1 -

Totals 43 6 49 25 24

The figures in the table include 2 officers on leave without pay and 3 officers on temporary transfer to other Commonwealth agencies.

All staff employed by the Office are located in the Australian Capital Territory.

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.2 Senior staff changes during the year

Pierre Le Guen, a First Assistant Parliamentary Counsel (SES Band 2), transferred to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in March 1998. This transfer is covered by the mobility provisions in Part IV of the Public Service Act 1922. Camilla Webster, a Senior Assistant Parliamentary Counsel (SES Band 1) has been selected to act in this position until

formal recruitment action is completed.

C.3 Performance-based pay

The Office currently has a high performers scheme for SES officers. During the year, 3 Senior Executive Service officers received payments totalling $27,000 for their performance in the period 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997. All received a rating of 4.

The Office’s performance management program for Senior Officers and equivalents does not include a high performers scheme for the payment of performance-based pay. Accordingly, Senior Officers and staff at equivalent levels were not eligible for any performance-based pay during the year.

C.4 Expenditure on staff development

The attention paid to the general training and development needs of staff met the target for the Office’s performance forecast in the Portfolio Budget Statements for 1997-98 (paragraph (1)).

The total amount of expenditure by the Office on external training (other than tertiary education courses approved under Studybank) for the year was $62,329. This amount does not include salaries and travel. The salary cost for the 46 officers who participated in external training

programs was $55,930. The externally-provided training occupied a total of 178 staff days. This figure includes staff days spent at legal conferences.

The total amount of expenditure by the Office for the year on tertiary education courses approved under Studybank was $2,907. The salary cost for the 3 officers who undertook the Studybank courses was $7,209. The courses occupied a total of 36.5 staff days.

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ll officers undertook in-house training in conjunction with the word-processing system.

C.5 Consultants

During the year the Office incurred expenses of $428,000 on 8 consultants. Major items of expense are detailed below.

• $318,278 for Freehill Hollingdale & Page (Mr G K Kolts) to draft legislation for the Office.

• $73,075 for Capital Scrivener (Mr J McKenzie) to draft legislation for the Office.

• $8,400 for People and Strategy (Kerry Juknaitis) to conduct focus groups and undertake other activities in conjunction with the Work Environment Initiative (see item 4.9.1).

• $8,100 for Executive Choice (Paul Hartigan) to review and rewrite selection documentation for drafting positions within the Office (see item 4.9.4)

• $7,600 for Davis Computer Consultants, and $6,600 for Latcom Pty Ltd, to provide support services in relation to FINEST, the Office’s financial management and information system.

• $5,446 for Tony Golsby-Smith to conduct two “Thinking with Pictures” courses.

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ppendix D: Glossary

AGPS Australian Government Publishing Service

AG S Australian Government Solicitor

A SO Administrative Service Officer

A TO Australian Taxation Office

A W A Australian workplace agreement (under the

Workplace Relations Act 1996)

CLERP Corporate Law Economic Reform Program

CPSU Community and Public Sector Union

EEO Equal employment opportunity

PBC Parliamentary Business Committee (a

committee of the Cabinet)

PSM PC Public Service and Merit Protection

Commission

SES Senior Executive Service

TLIP Tax Law Improvement Project

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ppendix E: Financial Statements 1997-98

CO NTENTS

Auditor-General’s Report on Financial Statements Certification of Financial Statements Statements of Revenues and Expenses Statements of Assets and Liabilities Statements of Cash Flows Schedule of Commitments Schedule of Contingencies Statement of Transactions by Fund Notes to Financial Statements

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I

NDEPENDENT AUDIT REPORT

Audit Office A ustralian N ational

To the Attorney-General

I have audited the financial statements of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for the year ended 30 June 1998 . The financial statements comprise:

• Statement by the First Parliamentary Counsel

• Departmental and Administered statements of:

• Revenues and Expenses

• Assets and Liabilities

• Cash Flows

• Schedule of Commitments

• Schedule of Contingencies

• Notes to and forming part of the Financial Statements.

The First Parliamentary Counsel is responsible for the preparation and presentation of the financial statements and the information they contain. I have conducted an independent audit of the financial statements in order to express an opinion on them to you, the Attorney-General.

The audit has been conducted in accordance with the Australian National Audit Office Auditing Standards, which incorporate the Australian Auditing Standards, to provide reasonable assurance as to whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. Audit procedures included examination, on a test basis, of evidence supporting the amounts and other disclosures in the financial statements, and the evaluation of accounting policies and significant accounting estimates. These procedures have been undertaken to form an opinion as to whether, in all material respects, the financial statements are presented fairly in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards, other mandatory professional reporting requirements (Urgent Issues Group Consensus Views) and statutoiy requirements so as to present a view of the Department which is consistent with my understanding of its financial position, its operations and its cash flows.

The audit opinion expressed in this report has been formed on the above basis.

GPO Box 707 CANBERRA ACT 2601 Centenary House 19 National Circuit BARTON ACT

Phone (02) 6203 7300 Fax (02) 6203 7777

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udit Opinion

In my opinion,

(i) the financial statements have been prepared in accordance with Schedule 2 of the Finance Minister’s Orders

(ii) the financial statements give a true and fair view, in accordance with applicable Accounting Standards, other mandatory professional reporting requirements and Schedule 2 of the Finance Minister’s Orders, of the financial position of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel as at 30 June 1998 and the results its operations and its cash flows for the year then ended.

Australian National Audit Office

David C McKean Executive Director

Delegate of the Auditor-General

Canberra

21 October 1998

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FFICE O F PA R L IA M EN TA R Y COUNSEL STA TE M E N T BY T H E FIR ST PARLIA M EN TA R Y COUNSEL

In my opinion, the attached financial statements present fairly the information required by Schedule 2 to the Finance Minister’s Orders made under Section 63 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

H R Penfold First Parliamentary Counsel

21 October 1998

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FFIC E O F PA R L IA M E N T A R Y CO UNSEL D E PA R T M E N T A L R EVENUES A N D EX PEN SES f o r th e y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 8 _____________________

NET COST OF SERVICES Notes

1997-98 $

1996-97 $

Expenses Employees 4A 3,528,609 3,958.674

Suppliers 4B 2,153,641 2,120,907

Depreciation and amortisation 4C 277,532 281,511

Write down of assets 4D 100,391 0

Total expenses 6,060,173 6,362,092

Revenues from independent sources Sales of goods and services 5 558,487 653,703 Total revenues from independent sources 558,487 653.703

Net cost of services 5,489,086 5,708,389

REVENUES FROM GOVERNMENT Appropriations used for: Ordinary annual services (net appropriations) 5,223.572 6,183,518 Resources received free of charge 25,212 32,725

Total revenues from government 5,248,784 6,216,243

Operating surplus/fdeficit) (252,902) 507.854

Accumulated results at 1 July 1,055,938 548,084

Accumulated results at 30 June 803,036 1,055,938

O FFICE OF P A R L IA M E N T A R Y C O U N SEL A D M IN IST E R E D REVENUES A N D EXPENSES f o r the y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 8

1997-98 1996-97 $ $

REVENUES Other 7,137 62,412

Total revenues 7,137 62,412

Total expenses 0 0

Net contribution/(cost) to government 7,137 62,412

TRANSFERS Cash to Commonwealth Public Account (7,137) (62,412)

Net change in administered assets 0 0

Accumulated results at 1 July 0 0

Changes in Accounting Policy effected 1 July 0 0

Accumulated results at 30 June 0 0

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes

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O FFICE O F PA R L IA M EN TA R Y COUNSEL DEPARTM ENTAL A SSETS A N D LIABILITIES as at 30 June 1998 ______

Notes

1997-98 $

1996-97 $

PROVISIONS AND PAYABLES Employees 6A 1,279,586 1,222,772

Suppliers 6B 119,013 78,837

Total provisions and payables 1,398,599 1,301,609

EQUITY Accumulated results 803,036 1,055,938

Total equity 7A 803,036 1,055,938

Total liabilities and equity 2,201,635 2,357,547

FINANCIAL ASSETS Cash 2,477 2,500

Receivables 8A 800,837 860,368

Total financial assets 803,314 862,868

NON-FINANCIAL ASSETS Land and buildings 9A,C 402,164 486,277

Infrastructure, plant and equipment 9B,C 823,956 826,469

Other 9D 172,201 181,932

Total non-financial assets 1,398,321 1,494,678

Total assets 2,201,635 2,357,546

Current liabilities 458,413 413,295

Non-current liabilities 940,186 888,314

Current assets 975,522 1,025,300

Non-current assets 1,226,114 1,332,246

O FFIC E O F PARLIA M EN TA R Y CO UNSEL A DM INISTERED ASSET S AN D L IA B ILIT IE S as at 30 June 1998 1997-98 1996-97

$ $

Total liabilities and equity 0 0

Total assets 0 0

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes

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FFICE O F P A R L IA M E N T A R Y C O U N SEL D E PA R T M E N T A L CASH FL O W S

1997-98 1996-97

$ $

OPERATING ACTIVITIES Cash received Appropriations 5,268,785 5,464,242

Sales of goods and services 598,018 686,000

Total cash received 5,866,803 6,150,242

Cash used Employees (3,471,795) (3,830.284)

Suppliers (2,103,734) (2,234,280)

Total cash used (5,575,529) (6.064.564)

Net cash from operating activities 291,274 85.678

INVESTING ACTIVITIES Cash received Proceeds from sales of property, plant and 0 18,185

equipment Total cash received 0 18,185

Cash used Purchase of property, plant and equipment (291,297) (99,151)

Total cash used (291,297) (99,151)

Net cash from (used by) investing activities (291,297) (80.966)

FINANCING ACTIVITIES Cash received 0 0

Cash used Lease payments 0 (4.387)

Total cash used 0 (4,387)

Net cash from (used by) financing activities 0 (4,387)

Net increase/(decrease) in cash held (23) 325

add cash at 1 July 2,500 2,175

Cash at 30 June 2,477 2,500

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FFIC E OF PA R L IA M EN TA R Y CO UNSEL A DM INISTERED CASH FLO W S fo r th e y e a r e n d e d 3 0 J u n e 1 9 9 8

1997-98 1996-97 $ $

OPERATING ACTIVITIES Cash received Other 7,137 62,412

Total cash received 7,137 62,412

Cash used Cash to Commonwealth Public Account (7,137) (62,412)

Total cash used (7,137) (62,412)

Net cash from operating activities 0 0

Net increase in cash held 0 0

add cash at 1 July 0 0

Cash at 30 June ft 0

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes

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FFICE OF PA R L IA M E N T A R Y CO UNSEL SC H ED U L E O F C O M M ITM EN TS for the year ended 30 June 1998_______________________________

Departmental Administered

BY TYPE

1997-98 $

1996-97 $

1997-98 $

1996-97 $

OTHER COMMITMENTS Operating leases 2,439,925 3,023,992 0 0

Total capital commitments 2,439,925 3,023,992 0 0

OTHER COMMITMENTS Receivables 0 0 0 0

Net commitments 2,439,925 3,023,992 0

BY MATURITY One year or less 574,100 584,067 0 0

From one to two years 574,100 574.100 0 0

From two to five years 1,291,725 1,722,300 0 0

Over five years 0 143,525 0 0

Net commitments 2,439,925 3,023,992 0 0

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes

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FFIC E O F PA R L IA M EN TA R Y C O U N SEL SC H ED U L E OF C O N T IN G E N C IE S for the year ended 30 June 1998_____________

Departmental 1997-98 1996-97 $ $

CONTINGENT LOSSES 0 0

CONTINGENT GAINS _________ 0__________ 0

Net contingencies 0__________ 0

Administered 1997-98 1996-97 $ $

0 0

______ 0________ 0

0 0

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes

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FFICE OF PA R L IA M E N T A R Y CO UNSEL NO TES TO A N D FO RM IN G P A R T O F THE FIN A N C IA L STA TE M E N T S for the year ended 30 June 1998_________________________

Note D escription 1 Departmental Objectives 2 Summary of Significant Accounting Policies 3 Events Occurring after Balance Date 4 Goods and Services Expenses 5 Reconciliation of Revenue from Independent Sources 6 Provisions and Payables 7 Equity

8 Financial Assets 9 Non-Financial Assets 10 Cash Flow Reconciliation 11 Receipts of Consolidated Revenue Fund 12 Expenditure from Annual Appropriations 13 Receipt and Expenditure of the Trust Fund 14 Executive Remuneration 15 Services provided by the Auditor-General 16 Act of Grace Payments and Waivers

17 Average Staffing Level 18 Financial Instruments

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Note 1 Departmental Objectives

The objectives of Office of Parliamentary Counsel as set out in the Corporate Plan are as follows: • to provide a timely and high quality service in the performance of its functions; • to make legislation as clear as possible, consistent with maintaining precision;

• to promote the development of new approaches to legislative drafting to reflect changes in legal policy and in the expectations of the community; • to pursue staff development so that the best use is made of the human resources available to the Office and career enhancement opportunities for all staff are

enhanced; • to promote the efficient and effective management of all the resources of the Office.

Note 2 Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

2.1 Basis of Accounting

The financial statements are required by section 49 of the Financial M anagem ent and A ccountability 1997 and are a general purpose financial report.

The statements have been prepared in accordance with Schedule 2 to the Financial Management and Accountability (FMA) Orders made by the Minister for Finance and Administration, which require that the financial statements are prepared: • in compliance with Australian Accounting Standards and Accounting Guidance

Releases, and Consensus Views of the Urgent Issues Group; and • having regard to Statements of Accounting Concepts.

The financial statements have been prepared on an accrual basis and are in accordance with historical cost convention, except for certain assets which, as noted, are at valuation. Except where stated, no allowance is made for the effect of changing

prices on the results or the financial position.

The continued existence of the Office in its present form is dependent on Government policy and on continuing appropriations by Parliament for the Office’s administration and programs.

2.2 Changes in Accounting Policy

A number of the requirements in Schedule 2 involve changes to accounting polices. These and other changes are identified this note.

2.3 Agency and Administered items

Agency assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses are those items that are controlled by the Office including: • computers plant and equipment used in providing goods and services; • liabilities for employee entitlements;

• revenues from running costs appropriations; • revenues from user charging etc where the proceeds are deemed appropriated under section 35 of the A u d it A c t 190F, and

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•

employee expenses and other administrative expenses incurred in providing goods and services.

Administered items are those items which are controlled by the Government and managed or oversighted by the Office on behalf of the Government.

The purposes of the separation of administered and agency items is to enable assessment of the administrative efficiency of the Office in providing goods and services.

The basis of accounting described in Note 2.1 applies to both agency and administered items.

Administered items are distinguished from agency items in the financial statements by shading.

2.4 Principles of Consolidation & Allocation of Costs and Revenues and Assets and Liabilities to Office Programs

The Office operates as a single sub-program within the Attorney-General’ s portfolio. As such there are no intra-agency programs or balances to eliminate. The requirement to allocate the cost of goods and services provided by units within the Office has already been met.

2.5 Appropriations

From 1 July 1996, the Guidelines require that amounts received as appropriations for departmental mnning costs operations are to be recognised according to their nature under the Running Costs Arrangements. Under these arrangements, the Office receives a base amount of funding by way of appropriation for running costs each year. The base amount may be supplemented in any year by a carryover from the previous year of unspent appropriations up to allowable limits, as well as by borrowings at a discount against future appropriations of the base amount. The repayment of a borrowing is effected by an appropriate reduction in the appropriation actually received in the year of repayment.

The Office recognises: • as revenue an amount equal to the base funding spent in the year or carried over to the next year, • as a receivable, an amount equal to the amount of unspent appropriation carried

over to the next financial year, and • as a liability, outstanding amounts of running costs borrowings. The interest cost of the borrowing is expensed over the life of the borrowing.

2.6 Resources Received Free of Charge

Services received free of charge are recognised in Departmental Revenues and Expenses as revenue when and only when a fair value can be reliably determined and the services would have been purchased if they had not been donated. Use of those resources is recognised in the Net Cost of Services.

Contributions of assets at no cost of acquisition or for nominal consideration are recognised at their fair value when the asset qualifies for recognition, unless received

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fr

om another government agency as a consequence of a restructuring of administrative arrangements. In the latter case, the assets are initially recognised at the amounts at which they were recognised by the transferring agency immediately prior to the transfer.

2.7 Employee Entitlements

Leave

The liability for employee entitlements includes provision for annual leave and long service leave. No provision has been made for sick leave as all sick leave is non­ vesting and the average sick leave taken in future years by employees of the Office is estimated to be less than the annual entitlement for sick leave.

The liability for annual leave reflects the value of total annual leave entitlements of all employees at 30 June 1998 and is recognised at the nominal amount.

The non-current portion of the liability for long service leave is recognised and measured at the present value of the estimated future cash flows to be made in respect of all employees at 30 June 1998. In determining the present value of the liability, the Department has taken into account attrition rates and pay increases through promotion and inflation.

Superannuation

Staff of Office of Parliamentary Counsel contribute to the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme and the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme. Employer contributions amounting to $509,507 (1996-97 $525,616) in relation to these schemes have been expensed in these financial statements.

No liability is shown for superannuation in the Statement of Assets and Liabilities as the employer contributions fully extinguish the accruing liability which is assumed by the Commonwealth.

Employer Superannuation Productivity Benefit contributions totalled $62,204 (1996-97 $67,169).

2.8 Leases

A distinction is made between finance leases which effectively transfer from the lessor to the lessee substantially all the risks and benefits incidental to ownership of leased non-current assets and operating leases under which the lessor effectively retains substantially all such risks and benefits.

Where a non-current asset is acquired by means of a finance lease, the asset is capitalised at the present value of minimum lease payments at the inception of the lease and a liability recognised for the same amount. Leased assets are amortised over the period of the lease. Lease payments are allocated between the principal component and the interest expense. The Office currently holds no assets under finance leases.

Operating lease payments are charged to Departmental Revenues and Expenses on a basis which is representative of the pattern of benefits derived from the leased assets.

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2

.9 Cash

Cash includes notes and coins held, deposits held at call with a bank or financial institution.

2.10 Bad and Doubtful Debts

Debts are written off as bad when so identified. The write-off is to expense or, to the extent a provision for a doubtful debt already existed, as a reversal of the provision.

A provision is raised for any doubtful debts based on a review of all outstanding accounts at year end.

2.11 Acquisition of Assets

Assets are recorded at cost on acquisition except as stated below. The cost of acquisition includes the fair value of assets transferred in exchange and liabilities undertaken.

Assets acquired at no cost, or for nominal consideration, are initially recognised as assets and revenues at their fair value at the date of acquisition, unless acquired as a consequence of restructuring administrative arrangements. In the latter case, assets are initially recognised at the amounts at which they were recognised in the transferor agency’s accounts immediately prior to the restructuring.

2.12 Property, Plant and Equipment

A sset recognition threshold

Purchases of property, plant and equipment are recognised initially at cost in the Departmental Assets and Liabilities, except for purchases costing less than $2,000, which are expensed in the year of acquisition (other than where they form part of a group of similar items which are significant in total).

Revaluations

Schedule 2 requires that property plant and equipment be progressively revalued in accordance with the ‘deprival’ method of valuation by 1 July 1999 and thereafter be revalued progressively on that basis every three years.

The Primary legislation collection will be revalued every 3 years commencing in 1997/98 and a progressive revaluation program for other classes of asset will be developed during 1998/99.

Assets in each class acquired after the commencement of the progressive revaluation cycle will be reported on the basis of the value initially recognised on acquisition for the duration of the progressive revaluation then in progress.

The financial effect of the move to progressive revaluations is that the carrying amounts of assets will reflect current values and that depreciation charges will reflect the current cost of the service potential consumed in each period.

The application of the deprival method by the Office values its assets at their depreciated replacement cost. Any assets which would not be replaced or are surplus

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to

requirements are valued at net realisable value; at 30 June 1998, the Office had no assets in this situation.

D epreciation and A m ortisation

Depreciable property, plant and equipment is written-off to estimated residual value over its estimated useful life.

Depreciation is calculated using the straight-line method which reflects the pattern of usage.

Leasehold improvements are amortised on a straight line basis over the lesser of the estimated useful life of the improvements or the unexpired period of the lease.

2.13 Inventories

The Office did not hold any inventories as at 30 June 1998.

2.14 Administered Investments

The Office does not administer any investments on behalf of the Commonwealth.

2.15 Taxation

The Office is exempt from all forms of taxation except fringe benefits tax.

2.16 Foreign Currency

Transactions denominated in a foreign currency are converted at the exchange rate at the date of the transaction. Foreign currency receivables and payables are translated at the exchange rates current as at balance date. Associated currency gains and losses are not material.

2.17 Insurance

In accordance with Commonwealth Government policy, assets are not insured and losses are expensed as they are incurred.

2.18 Comparative Figures

Where necessary, comparative figures have been adjusted to conform with changes in presentation in these financial statements.

2.19 Rounding

Amounts shown in these statements have been rounded to the nearest $ 1.

2.20 Financial Instruments

Accounting policies in relation to financial instruments are disclosed in Note 18.

Note 3 Events Occurring after Balance Date

The Office is not aware of any event occurring after the balance date which would have any material effect on the information provided in these statements.

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ote 4 Goods and Services Expenses 1997/98 1996/97

$ $

Note 4A Employee Expenses Basic remuneration (for services provided) 3,478,536 3,808,619 Separation and redundancy - abnormal item 0 90,998

Total remuneration 3,478,536 3,899,617

Other employee expenses 50,073 59.057

Total employee expenses 3,528,609 3,958,674

Note 4B Suppliers Expenses Supply of goods and services 1,568,653 1,452,987

Operating leases 584,988 668.920

Total suppliers expenses 2,153,641 2,121.907

Note 4C Depreciation and Amortisation Provision for depreciation - property, plant 277,532 277.124

and equipment Amortisation of leased assets 0 4.387

Total depreciation and amortisation 277,532 281,511

Note 4D Write down of Assets Revaluation decrement 100,391 0

Total write down of assets 100,391 0

Total 6,060,173 6,363,092

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ote 5 Reconciliation of Revenues from Independent Sources Gross revenue earned 1997/98 1996/97

$ $

Sales of Goods and Services(User Charges) 598,018 744,455

Less 96/97 Receivables (108,368) (140,665)

97/98 Receivables 68,837 108,368

558,487 712,158

Amounts not recognised as departmental revenue: 0 (58,455)

Revenue from Independent Sources 558,487 653,703

Note 6 Provisions and Payables 1997-98 1996-97

$ $

Note 6A Employee liabilities Salaries and wages 81,586 67,669

Leave 1,190,883 1,149.688

Superannuation 7,117 5,415

Aggregate employee entitlement liability 1,279,586 1,222,772

1997-98 1996-97

$ $

Note 6B Suppliers Trade creditors 119,013 78,837

119,013 78,837

Note 7 Equity

Equity—Departmental Item Capital Accumul­

ated results A sset revaluation reserve

Total reserves

TOTAL

EQUITY

$ $ $ $ $

Balance 1 July 1997 0 1,055.938 0 0 1,055.938

Operating result 0 (252.902) 0 0 (252,902)

Balance 30 June 1998 0 803,036 0 0 803,036

75

N

ote 8 Financial Assets 1997-98 1996-97

Note 8A - Receivables

$ $

appropriations 732,000 752,000

goods and services 68,837 108,368

Receivables (gross) are aged as follows: Over due by:

800,837 860,368

• less than 30 days 0 1,407

Note 9 Non-financial assets 1997-98 1996-97

9A. Land and buildings

$ $

Leasehold Improvements - at cost 946,268 926.242

Accumulated Amortisation 544,104 439.965

Total Land and Buildings 402,164 486,277

9B. Plant and eaumment Plant and equipment - at cost 1,179,811 939,600

Accumulated depreciation 719,479 577,146

460,332 362.454

Plant and equipment - at valuation 1 363,624 464.015

Accumulated depreciation n/a n/a

363,624 464,015

Total Plant and Equipment 823,956 826,469

1. Valuation undertaken by the Australian Valuation Office on 24 September 1997.

76

9

C A n a ly sis o f P r o p e r ty . P la n t, E q u ip m e n t a n d In ta n g ib le s TABLE A—Movement summary 1997-98 for all assets irrespective of valuation basis

Item L a n d B u ild in g s Total Land

& Buildings Infrastructure Plant & Equipment

TOTAL

$ $ $ $ $

Gross value as at 1 July 1997

0 926,242 926,242 1.403,615 2,329,857

Additions: 0 20,026 20.026 271,271 291,297

Revaluations 0 0 0 (100,391) (100.391)

Disposals 0 0 0 (31.060) (31.060)

Gross value as at 30 June 1998 0 946,268 946,268 1.543,435 2.489.703

Accumulated Depreciation / Amortisation as at 1 July 1997

0 4 39,965 439,965 577,146 1,017,111

Depreciation / amortisation charge for assets held 1 July 1997

0 92,624 92,624 141,787 234,711

Depreciation / amortisation charge for additions 0 11,515 11,515 31,607 43,122

Adjustment for revaluations 0 0 0 0 0

Adjustment for Disposals 0 0 0 (31,060) (31.060)

Adjustment for Other movements

0 0 0 0 0

Accumulated Depreciation / Amortisation as at 30 June 1998

0 544,104 544,104 719,480 1,263,584

Net book value as at 30 June 1998

0 402,164 402,164 823,956 1,226,120

Net book value as at 1 July 1997 0 48 6 ,2 7 7 48 6 ,2 7 7 826,469 1,312,746

77

TABLE B—Summary of balances of assets at valuation as at 30 June 1998

Item Land Buildings Total

land and buildings

Other infra­ structure, plant & equipm ent

Total

$ $ $ $ $

As at 30 June 1998 Gross value 0 0 0 363,624 363,624

Accumulated Deprecia- 0 0 0 n/a n/a

tion / Amortisation

Net book value 0 0 0 363,624 363.624

As at 30 June 1996 Gross value 0 0 0 464,015 464.015

Accumulated Deprecia- 0 0 0 n/a n/a

tion / Amortisation

Net book value 0 0 0 464,015 464,015

Note 9D - Other 1997-98 1996-97

$ $

Prepayments 172,201 181,932

Note 10 Cash Flow Reconciliation Departmental Reconciliation 1997-98 1996-97

$ $

Reconciliation of net cost of services to net cash provided by operating activities Net Cost of Services (5,495,386) (5,708.389)

less: Revenue from Government 5,242,484 6,216,242

Operating result (252,902) 507,853

Depreciation/Amortisation 277,532 281,511

Sale of non-current assets 0 22,848

Changes in assets and liabilities Receivables 59,531 (719,703)

Prepayments 9,732 (84,549)

Employee liabilities 56,814 128,390

Suppliers liability 40,176 (50,672)

Net cash provided by operating activities 291,274 85,678

78

N

ote 11 Receipts of Consolidated Revenue Fund

1997-98 1997-98 1996-97

Budget Actual Actual

Miscellaneous revenue 5,000 7,137 3,957

Section 35 of the Audit Act 1901 686.000 598,018 744,455

(to be credited to Running Costs Div 132) 691,000 605,155 748,412

Note 12 Expenditure from Annual Appropriations

ORDINARY ANNUAL SERVICES OF GOVERNMENT APPROPRIATION ACT Nos 1 & 3 1997-98 1997-98 1996-97

Division 132 - ADMINISTRATIVE Appropriation Actual Actual

$ $ $

1 Running Costs 7,319,018 5,835,285 6,117,518

Total - Appropriation Acts No. 1 and 3 7,319,018 5,835,285 6,117,518 Represented b y : Annual Appropriation - Act No. 1

- Act No. 3

6,651,000 } 70,000 } 5,835,285 6,117,518

- Section 35 598,018 )

7,319,018 5,835,285 6,117,518

Note 13 Receipts and Expenditure of the Trust Fund

Group 1—Monies Held in Trust for Persons and Authorities other than the Commonwealth SERVICES FOR OTHER GOVERNMENT AND NON-PEPARTMENTAL BODIES Legal Authority— A u d it A c t 1901, section 60 Purpose—for the payment of costs in connection with services performed on behalf of

other government and non-departmental bodies. 1997-98 1997-98 1996-97

Budget Actual Actual

Opening balance (cash) 0 0

Receipts : from sources other than 19,000 1,016 13,101

appropriations Expenditure 19,000 1,016 13,101

Closing balance (cash) 0 0 0

79

Note

14 Executive Remuneration

The number of executive officers who received or were due 1997-98 1996-97 to receive fixed remuneration of $ 100,000 or more: Number Number

$100 000 to $110 000 1 2

$110 001 to $120 000 1 1

$120 001 to $130 000 2 4

$130 001 to $140 000 4 2

$140 001 to $150 000 1 0

$150 001 to $160 000 0 2

$160 001 to $170 000 2 0

$200 001 to $210 000 1 0

$210001 to $220000 0 1

The aggregate amount of fixed remuneration of executive officers shown above. 1,679,186 $1,633,556

The aggregate amount of performance pay paid during the $ $

year to executive officers shown above. 27,000 $35,704

Note 15 Services provided by the Auditor-General

Financial statement audit services are provided free of charge to the Office. The fair value of audit services provided was: 1997-98 1996-97

$ $

Office of Parliamentary Counsel 16,500 22,000

No other services were provided by the Auditor-General.

Note 16 Act of Grace Payments and Waivers

No Act of Grace payments were made during the reporting period

No waivers of amounts owing to the Commonwealth 70C(2) of the A u d it A c t 1901 were made pursuant to subsection

Note 17 Average Staffing Levels 1997-98 1996-97

Program 2.3 - Office of Parliamentary Counsel 41.1 47.1

80

N

ote 18 Financial Instruments

18A. Terms, conditions and accounting policies Financial Instrument Notes Accounting Policies and

Methods

Terms and Conditions

Financial Assets 8 Receivables are carried at nominal amounts due less any provision for doubtful debts. A

provision for doubtful debts is recognised when collection of the full nominal amount is no

longer probable.

Credit sales are on 30 day terms. Receivables for Goods and Services

Financial Liabilities 6 Liabilities are recognised for amounts to be paid in the future for goods and services received,

whether or not billed to the Office.

Trade liabilities are normally settled on 30 day terms.

Trade creditors and accruals

18B. Interest rate risk and net fair values The Office’s exposure to interest rate risks and the effective interest rates of financial assets and financial liabilities, both recognised and unrecognised at the balance date, are as follows:

1997-98 1996-97

$ $

(i) Financial Assets (non-interest bearing) Cash 2,477 2,500

Receivables 68,837 108,368

Total Financial Assets 71,314 110,868

The net fair values of cash and non-interest bearing monetary financial assets approximate their carrying values.

(ii) Financial Liabilities (non-interest bearing) Trade Creditors 119,013 78,837

Total Financial Liabilities 119,013 ____ 78,837

The net fair values for trade creditors and accruals which are short-term in nature are approximated by their carrying amounts.

18 C. Credit risk exposures The maximum exposures to credit risk at the reporting date in relation to each class of recognised financial assets is the carrying amount of those assets as indicated in the Balance Sheet. The Office does not have any significant exposures to any

concentrations of credit risk. The maximum value of credit risk exposure does not take into account the value of any collateral or other security.

81

A

lphabetical index

Accidents and dangerous occurrences

Achievement of performance targets from Portfolio Budget Statement

Administration Section restructuring

Advertising and market research

Attorney-General’ s Department review

Audit Committee

Audit Reports

Bills

Client advising arrangements

Client satisfaction

Consolidation of drafting directions

Consultants

Contact officer for additional information

Corporate Law Economic Reform Program

Corporate objectives

Corporate overview

Dealings with the States and Territories

Drafting staff

Drafting style

Drafting teams

Equal employment opportunity within the Office

Establishment and functions of the Office

Expenditure on staff development

External scrutiny

Feedback on legislation

Item 6.3

Item 3.2.2

Item 4.3.3

Part 8

Item 3.10.2

Item 4.9.3

Item 4.10.4

Item 3.5.2

Item 3.9.3

Item 4.11

Item 3.9.2

Appendix C.5

Part 9

Item 3.7.1

Item 1.2

Part 4

Item 3.9.5

Item 4.4.1

Item 3.8

Item 4.3.1

Item 4.7.2

Item 1.1

Appendix C.4

Item 4.10

Items 2.2 and 4.11

82

F

inancial and staffing resources summary Item 3.3

Financial statements Item 3.1 and Appendix E

Freedom of information Part 7 and Appendix B

Glossary Appendix D

Highlights of the year Part 2

In-house access to consolidated text of legislation Item 3.10.3

Industrial democracy (participative work practices) Part 5

Industrial Democracy Plan Item 5.2

Internal scrutiny Item 4.9

Legal Assistants Item 4.9.2

Legislation Item 2.1

Legislation process courses Item 3.9.4

Legislation program Item 3.5

Matters affecting the Office Item 3.10

Occupational health and safety Part 6 and Appendix A

Office committees Item 5.4

Outposted drafting teams working on special projects Item 3.7

Overseas visitors Item 3.9.7

Overseas visits Item 3.9.6

Parliamentary amendments Item 3.5.3

Parliamentary Committees Item 4.10.2

Participative work practices Part 5

Performance-based pay Appendix C.3

Principles and aims of industrial democracy Item 5.1

Printing Item 3.10.1

Program performance Part 3

Program structure Item 3.2

83

R

ecruitment and resources Item 4.4

Regulatory Review Unit and Law Revision Unit Item 3.6

Restructuring of the Administration Section Item 4.3.3

Review of selection documents for drafting positions Item 4.9.4

Review of the Attorney-General ’ s Department Item 3.10.2

Seminars Item 3.9.1

Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee Item 4.10.3

Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills Item 4.10.1

Senior management meetings Item 4.3.2

Senior staff changes during the year Item 4.2 and Appendix C.2

Social justice and equity in the work of the Office Item 4.8

Social justice and equity within the Office Item 4.7

Staff development Item 4.5

Staff Development Plan Item 4.5.4

Staff meetings Item 5.3

Staffing overview Appendix C

Structure and senior management of the Office Item 4.1

Structure of the report Item 1.3

Summary table of resources Item 3.4

Tax Law Improvement Project Item 3.7.2

Training— continuing legal education Item 4.5.2

Training— drafting skills Item 4.5.1

Training— information technology Item 4.5.3

Work Environment Initiative Item 4.9.1

84

W

orking arrangements

Workplace bargaining

Workplace Diversity within the Office

Item 4.3

Item 4.6

Item 4.7.1

85

C

ompliance index

Advertising and market research Part 8

Contact officer for additional information Part 9

Corporate overview Part 4

Financial statements Appendix E

Freedom of information Part 7 and Appendix B

Glossary Appendix D

Industrial democracy (participative work practices) Part 5

Occupational health and safety Part 6 and Appendix A

Program performance Part 3

Scrutiny, external Item 4.10

Scrutiny, internal Item 4.9

Social justice and equity Items 4.7 and 4.8

Staffing overview Appendix C

8 6