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AGAINST – Jobs and Skills Australia Amendment Bill 2023 - Consideration in Detail - Independent selection process

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

What do these amendments do?

Dr Scamps explained that:

The bill requires the appointment of a commissioner, deputy commissioners and a ministerial advisory board to the Jobs and Skills Australia agency. There are existing provisions in the bill which require candidates for these positions to have appropriate experience and knowledge for the role. Those provisions are vital. My amendment specifically states that it does not seek to override those provisions. My amendments to this bill require that, in addition to the consideration of expertise, the selection process for these positions must have greater independence from party politics, whereby an independent panel selects a shortlist of candidates from which the minister can then make the final appointment. In short, I am trying to ensure that there is not a jobs-for-mates culture in the Jobs and Skills Australia agency. We know it was the jobs-for-mates culture that caused the Attorney-General to last year abolish the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Why would we set up new institutions of government without learning from the mistakes that have caused other institutions like the AAT to fail?

Amendment text

(1) Schedule 1, item 31, page 10 (after line 26), after section 16B, insert:

16BA Appointment process — members of the Ministerial Advisory Board

(1) This section applies to the following appointments:

(a) the appointment of a person to be a member of the Ministerial Advisory Board under section 16B;

(b) the appointment of a person to act as a member of the Ministerial Advisory Board 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.

(5) This section does not affect the operation of subsection 16B(4).

(2) Schedule 1, item 32, page 14 (after line 28), after section 19, insert:

19A Appointment process — Commissioners

(1) This section applies to the following appointments:

(a) the appointment of a person to be the JSA Commissioner under section 18;

(b) the appointment of a person to be a JSA Deputy Commissioner under section 18A;

(c) the appointment of a person to act as a Commissioner under section 19 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.

(5) This section does not affect the operation of subsections 18(3), 18A(3) and 19(2).

Summary

Date and time: 5:40 PM on 2023-05-11
Allegra Spender's vote: No
Total number of "aye" votes: 78
Total number of "no" votes: 14
Total number of abstentions: 59
Related bill: Jobs and Skills Australia Amendment Bill 2023

Adapted from information made available by theyvoteforyou.org.au

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