Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2572


Mr BEAZLEY (Special Minister of State)(12.03) —by leave-I move:

(2) Clause 7, page 16, at the end of proposed section 11 add the following sub- section:

'(5) For the purposes of Part IV of the Public Service Act 1922, persons employed under sub-section (1) shall be deemed to be employed by the Commission. '.

(3) Clause 7, page 17, lines 2 to 5, omit proposed section 12.

These amendments are also essential machinery matters. The first amendment makes absolutely certain that public servants who work for the Commonwealth Electoral Commission after it is established as an effective independent body do not suffer any disadvantage by changing the basis of their employment. Clause 7 provides in proposed section 11 that senior management staff may be employed by the Australian Electoral Commission on behalf of the Commonwealth and that these staff are to be employed outside the Public Service Act. The Public Service Board has raised the point that Part IV of the Public Service Act, which preserves the rights of public servants who move from the Public Service to employment with statutory authorities, might not apply to those public servants who move to the Australian Electoral Commission. Employment by the Australian Electoral Commission is to be on behalf of the Commonwealth and not in the Commission's own right. The first of these amendments will ensure that the rights of public servants who move to the Australian Electoral Commission will be preserved, and that will ensure that the Commission has as wide a recruiting base as possible at the senior management level.

The second amendment to clause 7 deletes proposed section 12 which provides:

For the purposes of the Audit Act . . . including regulations . . . the Electoral Commission shall be deemed to be a Department of which the Electoral Commissioner is the permanent head.

If we were to maintain this clause within the Bill it would create effectively a unique situation. The more conventional means of achieving exactly the same effect as has been achieved with the Legal Aid Commission, the Industries Assistance Commission and others has been for them to become, within the framework of the Audit Act, prescribed organisations which effectively permit the situations that we were attempting to achieve in the original section 12, via regulation under that proposition. It is the Government's intention that on the passage of this legislation and before its proclamation, regulations be introduced to achieve exactly the same effect as would be achieved by proposed section 12. On reflection, we think it is undesirable that a precedent should be set in this direction when upwards of seven or eight precedents have been set in the other direction of prescribing commissions for the purposes of the Audit Act to achieve this effect. The Government has decided instead to go down this course and for that reason it makes this essentially machinery amendment.