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AGAINST – Infrastructure Australia Amendment (Independent Review) Bill 2023 - Consideration in Detail - Appointments

The majority voted in favour of disagreeing with amendments introduced by Mackellar MP Sophie Scamps (Independent), which means they failed.

What do the amendments do?

Dr Scamps explained that:

In this amendment I am seeking to ensure that the appointments process of the three commissioners to Infrastructure Australia that will replace the board is far more transparent and independent and at arm's length from the minister. Currently, the appointments are made at the minister's discretion. I am calling for an independent selection panel. This independent selection panel would shortlist the candidates with the right expertise, and the minister would be able to choose from that shortlist and would still have an element of discretion left to them in being able to choose the final appointment from that shortlist.

Amendment text

(1) Schedule 1, item 22, page 12 (line 30) to page 13 (line 1), omit paragraph 8(3)(b), substitute:

(b) the appointment process set out in section 10A has been complied with.

(2) Schedule 1, item 22, page 14 (after line 2), after section 10, insert:

10A Appointment process

(1) This section applies to the following appointments:

(a) the appointment of a person to be the Chief Commissioner or a Commissioner under section 8;

(b) the appointment of a person to act as the Chief Commissioner or a Commissioner under section 10 if:

(i) the appointment is to act in the office for a period of 6 months or more; or

(ii) the appointment is to act in the office for a period of less than 6 months but, in combination with previous appointments, the person will have been appointed to act in the office for a total period of 6 consecutive months or more.

(2) An appointment must not be made unless:

(a) the selection of the person for the appointment is the result of a process that includes:

(i) public advertising of selection criteria for the position; and

(ii) assessment of applications against the selection criteria by an independent panel consisting of at least 3 members and chaired by a former judge; and

(iii) shortlisting of at least 3 persons for the appointment who are certified, in writing, by the panel to meet all of the selection criteria; and

(b) the person appointed is one of the shortlisted candidates.

(3) Within 7 days after an appointment is made, the Minister must cause a copy of the written certification (referred to in subparagraph (2)(a)(iii)) for the person appointed to be:

(a) tabled in each House of the Parliament; or

(b) if a House is not sitting—presented to the Presiding Officer of that House for circulation to the members of that House.

(4) In this section:

former judge means:

(a) a former Justice of the High Court; or

(b) a former judge of the Federal Court of Australia; or

(c) a former judge of the Supreme Court of a State or Territory.

Summary

Date and time: 12:08 PM on 2023-05-24
Allegra Spender's vote: No
Total number of "aye" votes: 57
Total number of "no" votes: 16
Total number of abstentions: 77
Related bill: Infrastructure Australia Amendment (Independent Review) Bill 2023

Adapted from information made available by theyvoteforyou.org.au

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