Department of the Legislative Assembly
2008-09 ANNUAL REPORT
GPO Box 3721 Darwin NT 0801 • www.nt.gov.au/lant
Table of contents
Letter of Transmission Clerk’s Overview Agency Snapshot Section 28(2) Criteria Corporate Governance
Executive Management Group Unit Reports
Office of the Clerk Chamber Services Committees Secretariat
Parliamentary Relations and Information Statehood Steering Committee Secretariat Building and Property Management
Security Services Parliamentary Services
Acronyms and Abbreviations
3 4 10 11 20 24 26 28 32 34 37 39 41 43 45
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AA Administrative Arrangements
ANZACATT Australian & New Zealand Association of Clerks-at-the-Table
ASPG Australasian Study of Parliament Group CDI Centre for Democratic Institutions
CPA Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CSG Cost Savings Group
DCM Department of the Chief Minister FTE Full-time equivalent
METS Members’ Entitlements Travel System PLS Parliamentary Library Service
RTD Remuneration Tribunal Determination TRIM Tower Records International Management WBI World Bank Institute
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY GPO Box 3721 Darwin NT 0801 Australia
The Hon Paul Henderson, MLA Chief Minister
Parliament House Darwin NT 0800 Dear Chief Minister,
2008-09 Annual Report
In accordance with the provisions of section 28 of the Public Sector Em- ployment and Management Act, I am pleased to submit this Annual Report of the Department of the Legislative Assembly for the year ended 30 June 2009.
In respect of my duties as the department’s Accountable Officer, pursuant to section 13 of the Financial Management Act I advise that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the system of internal control provides reasonable as- surance that at 30 June 2009:
(a) proper records of all transactions affecting the agency are kept and the employees under my control observe the provisions of the Financial Management Act, Regulations and the Treasurer’s Directions; and (b) procedures within the agency afford proper control over expenditure,
receipts and public property, and a current description of such proce- dures is recorded in the Accounting and Property Manual prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Financial Management Act.
I am not aware of any fraud, malpractice, material breach of legislation or delegation, or major error or omission from the accounts and records of the agency.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Business and Employ- ment (DBE) has advised me that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, proper records are kept of transactions undertaken by DBE on behalf of this agency, and that the employees under his control observe the provisions of the Financial Management Act, Regulations and Treasurer’s Directions.
Further, the Chief Executive Officer of DBE has advised that financial state- ments prepared by DBE and included in this Annual Report have been pre- pared from proper accounts and records and are in accordance with Treasur- er’s Directions Part 2, Sections 5 and 6 where appropriate.
All Employment Instructions issued by the Commissioner for Public Em- ployment have been satisfied in the reporting year.
An accurate account of the agency’s compliance is contained in this report.
Clerk of the Legislative Assembly 17 November 2009
Purpose of the Annual Report
THE PURPOSE OF THIS REPORT is to inform stakeholders of the agency’s ac- tivities over the past 12 months, and to report against priorities identified in last year’s annual report.
The annual report reflects a number of internal agency documents, includ- ing my own Performance Agreement, which is settled with the Speaker on an annual basis and reported against quarterly, the agency’s Strategic Plan and our Portfolio Budget Statement, which is tabled in the Legislative Assembly prior to the Estimates process to allow Members to further scrutinise the ac- counts and activities of the agency. Each of these documents is inter-related and each reflects the priorities of the agency.
Our stakeholders are many and varied and include: Members of the Legis- lative Assembly; government departments; the media; other parliaments; stu- dents; and members of the public.
THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE OF the agency is to support the 25 Members of the Legislative Assembly. This is achieved in two ways: administratively; and procedurally.
Administrative support entails ensuring that Members are equipped to carry out their duties and service their electorates. Administrative support includes provision of electorate offices, staff, telephony and information technology, motor vehicles, travel, stationery and other items necessary for Members to carry out their duties.
Procedural support entails the smooth functioning of the Legislative Assem- bly during sitting times, including advice to the Speaker and Members of the Assembly, recording and minuting of proceedings, preparation of papers and bills, production of the daily Notice Paper and production of the Parliamentary Record. It further entails administrative, procedural and research support for Legislative Assembly Committees so that they can carry out their duties and report to the Assembly in a timely manner.
Composition of the Legislative Assembly
A GENERAL ELECTION WAS called during the first part of the reporting period and resulted in 11 new Members of the Legislative Assembly, which repre- sents a 44% turnover of seats. Of these, three are Government Members and eight are Opposition Members.
Induction courses were conducted for all new Members of the Assembly in order to comprehensively brief them on their entitlements, reporting require- ments, the structure of the agency and key officers.
Following the 2008 General Election, the composition of the Legislative As- sembly changed significantly and required seating changes in the Assembly Chamber to facilitate parliamentary sittings, which commenced with the open- ing of the Eleventh Assembly on 9 September 2008.
COMPOSITION OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY - AUGUST 2008
ALP CL+ Ind Total
Members 13 11 01 25
New Members 03 08* -- 11
Women 06 02 -- 08
Men 07 09 01 17
Indigenous 04 01 -- 05
Bush seats 07 01 RD 01 RD 09
Urban seats 06 10 -- 16
+ prior to the 2008 General Election, the Country Liberal Party changed its name to the Country Liberals.
* the former CLP Member for MacDonnell (1997-2005) in Central Australia John Elferink was elected to the urban seat of Port Darwin; the former CLP Member of the House of Representatives seat of Lingiari David Tollner (2001-2007) was elected to the new industrial/rural Darwin seat of Fong Lim. Both are treated as ‘new’ Members for the purposes of this table.
RD - rural Darwin
His Honour the Administrator inspecting the Tri-Service
Guard of Honour on the occasion of the Opening of
the Eleventh Assembly.
The Members for Araluen and Arafura, Jodeen
Carney and Marion Scrymgour, taking the oath of office on the first
sitting of the Eleventh Assembly.
DURING THE REPORTING PERIOD, the agency hosted visiting delegations from the United Kingdom Parliament under the Commonwealth Parliamentary As- sociation (CPA) program, His Excellency President Jose Ramos Horta from Timor-Leste, who addressed the Legislative Assembly on 30 October 2008, a delegation from Anhui Province in China in April and the Speaker and Clerk of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in May.
IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT the agency’s responsibilities in what is often an unpredictable environment, it is necessary to liaise with others, most notably the Offices of the Solicitor-General and Auditor-General. We have an extremely good working relationship with both offices and are most appreciative of the quality and timeliness of advice we receive.
Further, we maintain close liaison with other parliamentary jurisdictions and often seek and advice with them. This is an important liaison fostered through the Australian and New Zealand Association of Clerks-at-the-Table (ANZACATT).
Officers of the Legislative Assembly are members of a range of profes- sional organisations such as ANZACATT and the Australasian Study of Parlia- ment Group (ASPG), both of which run annual professional development pro- grams for parliamentary officers around the region. Officers of the Assembly have attended and, in some cases, presented papers at programs run by both organisations over the reporting period.
The high proportion of new Members resulted in accelerated activity to prop- erly equip the new Members with appropriate office and staff facilities.
The composition of the Legislative Assembly changed again on Friday 5 June when the ALP Member for Arafura, Marion Scrymgour, resigned from the party and sat as an Independent.
COMPOSITION OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY - JUNE 2009
ALP CL Ind Total
Members 12 11 02 25
Women 05 02 01 08
Men 07 09 01 17
Indigenous 03 01 01 05
Bush seats 06 01 02 09
Urban seats 06 10 -- 16
PARLIAMENT HOUSE IS NOW ENTERING its 16th year of operation, having been officially opened in 1994. Maintenance demands in respect of the fabric of the building (both internal and external) have resulted in the development of an Asset Management Plan commensurate with the life expectancy of the build- ing, which is in excess of 100 years. Additionally, ongoing routine mainte- nance, including lift, air-conditioning and security system upgrades have been achieved.
The Asset Management Plan, completed during the reporting period, will be transferred onto an Asset Mangement System (database) and used as a plan- ning and working document. When fully populated, this system will provide a better profile for maintenance planning and budget requirements over five to 10 year periods.
Two major upgrades occurred during the reporting period: the security sys- tem and the sound and vision system, which is used for the recording of Par- liamentary procedures. A second phase of the sound and vision upgrade is proposed for the coming reporting period.
Parliamentary Relations and Education
THE ROLE OF THE PARLIAMENTARY RELATIONS and Education Unit was expanded during the reporting period to reach a wider target audience. A change of focus was made from lower primary school students to upper secondary stu- dents, given that they are the young people who will soon be eligible to vote.
Priority was also given to reviewing activities for younger students, and in- cluded joint-delivery of education programs with the Northern Territory Elec- toral Commission.
GIVEN THE SMALL SIZE OF THE agency and the specific skills and knowledge required by parliamentary officers, consideration is being given to the agency structure to achieve business continuity through training and redundancy plan- ning. Whilst there are a number of generic administrtive skills that can be applied in a parliamentary environment, there are also skill sets required to meet the practices and procedures of a Westminster system of government.
In part, this is achieved by post-sitting briefings and by staff rotating in the Table Office and working at the Table on a regular basis during sitting days. In addition, appropriate staff are encouraged to participate in professional devel- opment seminars (for example, ANZACATT and ASPG) to broaden and de- velop their knowledge.
IT HAS BEEN A BUSY BUT rewarding year for parliamentary officers who have responded to various challenges because of the diverse range of skills and experience we have within such a small number of employees.
The agency directly employs 43.5 full-time equivalent employees and is re-
sponsible for a further 25 full-time equivalent contract officers who serve Mem- bers as Electorate Officers.
In addition, we deal with a range of contract staff, including security officers, cleaners and those responsible for maintaining the Parliament House sound and vision system, which is critical during Legislative Assembly sitting peri- ods.
There is one group of people I wish to particularly thank. Whilst the Parlia- mentary Library Service (PLS) is part of the Northern Territory Library and does not form part of this agency, PLS officers provide an invaluable service to Members and staff of the Legislative Assembly and it is appropriate that they be thanked for their work and their commitment to it.
THE AGENCY CONTINUES to make a modest contribution to the Territory’s tour- ism industry. During peak tourism season, we provide free public tours on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. During the less busy periods, the tours are offered on Wednesday mornings. Our guides are casual employees who are historically qualified to lead tours, and who will undergo tourism accredita- tion pursuant to Tourism NT’s move to have operators nationally accredited.
During the reporting period, we commenced the process of national tour- ism accreditation for Parliament House as a destination. Mentoring for this process was provided by Tourism NT. It is intended that Parliament House will be fully accredited during the first half of the coming reporting period.
Environment and Sustainability
DURING THE REPORTING period, one officer undertook the Australian Institute of Management’s Green and Lean sustainability program, which identified three primary areas of waste in white collar working environments: electricity, pa- per and food. The latter is particularly the case for Parliament House, where some 445 functions were hosted during the reporting period. Because of the nature of functions (which may be hosted by the Chief Minister, a Minister or the Speaker), addressing this form of waste will require a combined effort from a variety of building users, including catering companies which are sourced from external providers. It is almost impossible to recycle food wast- age (eg gifting to charitable organisations contravenes public health laws), so the approach must be more scientific and targeted at reducing supply, thereby reducing wastage.
Concerted efforts were made in respect of electricity during the reporting period. This effort will require considerable dedication during the coming re- porting period when electricity charges will rise by 7% or $60,000 per annum to an anticipated total of $680,000 per annum.
Staff are encouraged to print material only when it is necessary, and then to print in a double-sided fashion.
The Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development resolved to adopt a ‘green’ policy to minimise paper waste, and all Committee documentation is provided to Members in electronic format.
The agency has re-established its Cost Savings Group (CSG) to identify and implement cost savings through better management of materials and operating costs.
1 JULY 2008 MARKED the 30th anniversary of self-government in the Northern Territory. Some agencies have already experienced a loss of corporate his- tory. To that end, I consider it important to interpret the parliamentary precinct in its historic context, and work has begun on this project. The immediate vicinity of Parliament House is important in an historical context and includes:
• Darwin Post Office (bombed);
• Fort Hill (demolished)
• Fort Hill Wharf
• the Iron Ore Wharf (being dismantled)
• the Hotel Darwin (demolished)
• the former Supreme Court building (demolished)
• the Darwin Oval
• Government House
• the Administrator’s Offices
• Liberty Square
• the Supreme Court
• former goverment Blocks 1-8 (all but one demolished)
This is particularly important in the context of various historical events and earlier plans to locate Parliament House elsewhere (for example, during the late 1970s, there was a plan to locate Parliament House, Government House and a university at East Point).
WE WERE SADDENED DURING the reporting period to note the passing of two former Members:
Mr William Joseph (Joe) Fisher, AM (MLC, Fannie Bay, 1969-1974*) Mr Hyacinth Tungutalum (MLA, Tiwi, 1974-1977)
* Mr Fisher was also a non-official (ie appointed) Member of the Legislative Council from June 1961 to October 1968.
Also during the reporting period, we noted the passing of Mr Stephen Edward (Sam) Calder, AM OBE DFC. Mr Calder was the Northern Territory Member of the House of Representatives from 1966 until 1980.
Annual budget: The agency administered an annual budget of $25.55m.
Minister: The Legislative Assembly has no Minister in Cabinet. The Mem- ber to whom Assembly officers are ultimately responsible is the Speaker. The Speaker appears on behalf of the agency at Estimates Committee hearings.
Permanent officers (FTEs): 40.5 Casuals recorded as FTEs: 2
Electorate Officers (FTE contracts): 25 Casuals and relief Electorate Officers: 3.5
Regional dispersal: Thirteen of the 25 electorate offices are located out- side of Darwin, and each of these is staffed by an Electorate Officer. Of course, the majority of staff in the agency travel to Alice Springs for regional sittings of the Assembly, but there was no regional sitting during the reporting period.
Parliament House: Some 200 people work in the Territory’s premier public building, and they represent the Department of the Chief Minister (DCM), De- partment of the Legislative Assembly, Northern Territory Library (Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport), Parliamentary Coun- sel (DCM), Speaker’s Corner Cafe staff (Karen Sheldon Catering), ISS Secu- rity staff and various contractors who service the building. In addition, there can be 100-200 visitors at any given time in the building.
SECTION 28(2) OF THE Public Sector Employment and Management Act re- quires the agency to report against specific criteria. This part of the report addresses those criteria and, where the responses appear elsewhere and would be unnecessarily duplicated, readers are directed to the relevant page(s).
Functions and Objectives
THE DEPARTMENT OF THE LEGISLATIVE Assembly arises from Parts 2 and 3 of the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act of the Australian Parliament, which create a body politic named the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative As- sembly has state-like power, but does not have equal status with state legisla- tures in Australia.
That notwithstanding, the Department of the Legislative Assembly exists to support and administer the Legislative Assembly, which is comprised of 25 Members who are elected under the terms of the Electoral Act. Each Member of the Legislative Assembly is entitled to a variety of allowances, office ac- commodation, a motor vehicle, travel entitlements, staff member(s) and rates of pay. Some Members’ entitlements, such as nominal salary, are tied to those of the House of Representatives and are automatically adjusted when the salaries of Members of the House of Representatives change. Other en- titlements, such as Electorate Allowances and types of motor vehicle, are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal, which conducts an annual review of Members’ entitlements and makes Determinations according to submis- sions put to it by Members and Legislative Assembly staff.
It is the job of Legislative Assembly staff to implement and track Members’
allowances and entitlements. These can range from office stationery to com- puters and telephony, motor vehicles, fuel cards, office furniture and staffing arrangements (including relief Electorate Office staff). Obviously, Members representing remote or bush electorates have very different requirements from Members who represent urban or town electorates. That being the case, Members holding bush seats have different entitlements from their colleagues who hold urban seats.
It is also the job of Legislative Assembly staff to maintain a Register of Mem- bers’ Interests pursuant to the Legislative Assembly (Register of Members’
A major role of the agency is to provide procedural advice and support to the Legislative Assembly. This entails ensuring that Standing and Sessional Or- ders (the rules of the Legislative Assembly) are adequate to fulfil the require- ments of the Assembly, and that correct procedure is observed during the debate and passage of legislation, tabling of papers and petitions, appoint- ment of Committees and Terms of Reference for Committees.
Legislative Assembly staff produce the Notice Paper (agenda) for each day’s sitting, and keep track of what business has been disposed of and what re-
Section 28(2) criteria
mains before the Assembly. Our staff also record proceedings in the Cham- ber by way of Minutes of Proceedings and the Hansard reocrd, which is a lightly edited verbatim account of each day’s parliamentary business.
Whilst the foregoing constitutes the core business of the Department of the Legislative Assembly, as noted in the Clerk’s Overview, the agency is respon- sible for the Northern Territory’s premier public building, many functions that are held in the building, accommodating visting parliamentary Committees who wish to take evidence in Darwin, public tours of the building and accom- modating a range of tenants.
Because the nature of our core business is specialised, it is important to maintain close liaison with other parliamentary institutions, and this is achieved by way of membership of a range of parliamentary associations, as men- tioned in the Clerk’s Overview.
Legislation administered by the Agency
THE DEPARTMENT OF THE LEGISLATIVE Assembly is reponsible for administer- ing the following legislation:
• Assembly Members and Statutory Officers (Remuneration and Other En- titlements) Act;
• Legislative Assembly Members (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act;
• Legislative Assembly Members’ Superannuation Contributions Act;
• Legislative Assembly Members’ Superannuation Fund Act;
• Legislative Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act;
• Legislative Assembly (Register of Members’ Interests) Act;
• Legislative Assembly (Security) Act.
In addition to this legislation, we are required to conduct joint education pro- grams with the Northern Territory Electoral Commission pursuant to the Elec- toral Act. The Parliamentary Relations and Education Unit co-ordinates deliv- ery of these programs.
During the first half of the next reporting period, the Legislative Assembly (Register of Members’ Interests) Act will be replaced by the Legislative As- sembly (Disclosure of Members’ Interests) Act. The new legislation requires Members to disclose their interests in a different format from the existing act.
The Clerk will be the Registrar of Members Interests under the new legislation and a Committee of Members’ Interests has been established to monitor Mem- bers’ compliance with the new legislation.
Organisation of the Agency
FOR THE PURPOSES OF section 28 of the Public Sector Employment and Management Act, the agency is divided into three service delivery streams:
Assembly Services; Building Management; and Members’ and Electorate Serv- ices.
Assembly Services is most succinctly described as procedural advice and Chamber support, and is comprised of the Office of the Speaker, Office of the
Clerk, Chamber Services Unit and Parliamentary Committees Secretariat.
Building and Property Management, as the name suggests, entails man- agement of Parliament House, but also includes management of Members’
Electorate Offices throughout the Northern Territory. The nature of this man- agement neccessarily involves liaison with contractors and other agencies (such as those who manage various contracts affecting both Parliament House and Electorate Offices), and there is a pressing need for closer co-ordination and clearer lines of responsibility to achieve this with greater effeciency. To that end, the Clerk has written to the CEOs of the agencies concerned and requested meetings to resolve these issues. During the reporting period, there were a number of meetings with other agencies which began to address some of the problems that were identified over the preceding months.
Members and Electorate Services are provided by the Corporate Serv- ices Unit of the agency. This entails administrative and corporate support for Members of the Legislative Assembly and their Electorate Officers, and ranges from monitoring Members’ travel to ensuring that motor vehicles are serviced regularly and in good repair, ensuring that Electorate Offices are properly equipped and furnished and ensuring that Information Technology services are provided in a timely manner.
Agency Operations, Initiatives and Achievements
IN ADDITION TO WHAT APPEARS as a general indicator here, each Unit of the agency has highlighted its operations, initiatives and achievements for the reporting period. These reports appear at pages 26-44.
In our last Annual Report, we identified the following priorities for the period now being reported:
- to ensure that the Legislative Assembly has a workforce with the capabilities to meet future challenges
This has proved an ongoing challenge and it has been recognised that we are approaching a critical stage where a number of senior parliamentary offic- ers are nearing retirement. This has given rise to a preliminary review of the structure of the agency and may necessitate an external strategic review and assessment of the agency’s required skill base weighed against the existing skill base, taking into account vacancies that will be created by departing offic- ers.
In addition to succession planning, the Northern Territory Chapter of the Aus- tralasian Study of Parliament Group (ASPG) has been revived and, during the reporting period, prepared an informal education program for its members and for officers of the Legislative Assembly. The first of these was a lecture by Dr Dean Jaensch of Adelaide University in March. Dr Jaensch addressed the issue of Parliamentary Reform. The seminar was extremely well attended, which is in large part due to the promotion given to it by the Institute of Public Administration of Australia (NT).
During the coming months, agency staff have the option of a weekly semi- nar over seven weeks to watch the mini series John Adams because of its examination of the terms and conditions which were acceptable to the colo-
nies of what was to become the United States of America and the parallels between that situation and a possible future grant of statehood to the Northern Territory.
During the reporting period, two officers attended the Australasian Study of Parliament Group (ASPG) conference in Brisbane and four officers attended the Australian and New Zealand Association of Clerks-at-the-Table (ANZACATT) conference at Norfolk Island. Two officers jointly presented a paper at the latter conference on Effective Repetition, a legal principle that has conse- quences for Members of Parliament in respect of the protection provided by parliamentary privilege.
- that activity within the Legislative Assembly is based on good governance, accountability and transparency
The Department of the Legislative Assembly is subject to the same princi- ples of management that apply to other public sector agencies. Accountability is achieved in a number of ways, including the Clerk’s Performance Agree- ment with the Speaker, which is reviewed annually and which is tied to strate- gic agency documents such as the Strategic Plan, Unit Business Plans, the Portfolio Budget Statement, appearance before the Estimates Committee and the Annual Report.
In addition, during the reporting period, the agency received and processed two requests pursuant to the Information Act.
Details of Members’ travel are tabled annually in the Legislative Assembly.
Once tabled, this document is a public document and open to scrutiny by a number of parties, not least of whom is the media.
As noted earlier, the Clerk is the custodian of Members’ Interests declara- tions. Whilst not published anywhere, these declarations are available for public inspection during normal business hours and are therefore open to scrutiny (in Darwin, at least).
- develop and publish comprehensive materials including the revision of the standing orders, procedural databases and draft legislation
The Standing Orders Committee twice reported to the Legislative Assembly during the reporting period. The first report, tabled in November 2008, con- cerned amendments to orders dealing with the sitting and adjournment times of the Assembly, speech time limits for Members during debates, the internal sound and vision system (including broadcasting of material from that sys- tem), consideration of General Business (as opposed to Government Busi- ness), and the conduct of Question Time. Effectively, the report adopted by the Assembly introduced three new sitting days per calendar year, reduced Members’ speech times during Adjournment from 15 to five minutes but pro- vided for incorporation of qualified adjournment material, abolished luncheon and dinner suspension breaks introduced as Sessional Orders and created set times for the House to move into Adjournment with a definite adjournment time each evening.
The second report, tabled in May 2009, resolved to adopt gender-neutral language in the Standing Orders at the time of the next reprint or, in the case of electronic material, republication.
A number of internal manuals have been produced, which address some concerns about loss of corporate memory and knowledge.
A system of management, review and control of documents available for public information was implemented. This was considered essential after a number of documents available on the agency web site were identified as being significantly out of date or as containing incorrect information.
Work on the Speaker’s Rulings and Parliamentary Precedents database continued, however during the reporting period it became apparent that Lotus Notes is becoming obsolete. An alternative database is required to ensure that material already loaded on the database is not lost.
An invaluable resource that was completed and implelemented during the reporting period is the Australian and New Zealand Association of Clerks-at- the-Table (ANZACATT) case law database. This project has been several years in the making and was achieved with cross-jursidictional support and co-operation, particularly from the New Zealand Parliament. Mr Ian McNeill, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, served on the ANZACATT Case Law Steering Committee, together with Mr Peter McHugh, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, and Ms Debra Angus, Deputy Clerk of the New Zealand House of Representatives. This database contains case law which directly affects or could affect parliaments, and the project included rewriting keywords and headnotes to reflect parliamentary issues rather than strictly legal issues.
During the reporting period, parliamentary benchmarking came to the fore through the collaborative efforts of institutions such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Australian National University’s Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI) and the World Bank Institute (WBI). These organisions hosted a professional development course for parliamentary Speak- ers at the Queensland Parliament which included a one-day workshop on benchmarks for democratic legislatures. We have sought benchmarking cri- teria and, in the coming months, will assess the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly’s performance against them.
- to promote awareness of and engage participation in parliamentary processes
There are two elements to this task: the Parliamentary Relations and Edu- cation Unit; and the Statehood Steering Committee Secretariat. Both units have a significant education and community engagement focus, and both achieved well during the reporting period.
In the case of the Parliamentary Relations and Education Unit, school pro- grams were revised and refined to make more productive use of the time spent with each group. In some cases, this included co-operative program delivery with the Northern Territory Electoral Commission. In these instances, students had to debate and decide upon how to cast their vote in respect of their favourite lunch before they entered the ballot box. At last count, after the
Financial Planning and Performance of the Agency
DETAILED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS appear at pages 45-79. As noted in the Agency Snapshot, the agency has an annual budget of $25.55 million. This can be broadly divided into: salaries (agency officers and electorate officers), Operational Expenses, Assembly Services, Corporate Services, Building and Property Management (including Security) and Major Works.
As for other agencies, the coming reporting period will include a 7% increase in electricity charges. This amounts to an anticipated figure of $60,000 per annum. Parliament House is a large and public building and, of course, is relatively expensive to maintain and run. For this reason, the agency will en- gage in a concerted effort to address energy use and efficiency over the com- ing reporting period.
Major maintenance and equipment upgrde expenses during the reporting period were: Lift Upgrades ($600,000); and Sound and Vision System up- grade, Stage 1 ($600,000).
distribution of preferences, chicken emerged as the clear leader over lasa- gne, steak and fish. A number of informal votes have been recorded, and the students are understood to have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
It is appropriate here to thank officers of the NT Electoral Commission for their support of the program and their co-operation in delivering it.
The Statehood Steering Committee Secretariat continued its community engagement program in a climate of what might be described as public apa- thy. It is the case that interest in matters such as statehood tends to peak and trough, and interest is spiked only when there is a catalyst to which the public reacts. In recent times, there has been no such catalyst, so interest in the concept is once again on the wane.
- to ensure the infrastructure assets and physical
environments maintained by the Legislative Assembly are well managed and sustained
As the building is now 16 years old, several major infrastructure assets are now showing signs of failing. As no strategic asset management was in place, these assets were only replaced or upgraded when the asset completely failed or when the required budget became available. This ad hoc approach was not good enough to maintain a iconic building like Parliament House.
Staff over the past six months have developed a draft 10 year Strategic Asset Management Plan. This plan will be fully implemented next financial year. The plan has identified current and future liabilities of the building with projected financial liabilities. This will allow Legislative Assembly staff to im- plement an orderly replacement program with no financial peaks or troughs and bid for sufficient funding to undertake these works over the next 10 years.
The implementation of the asset management plan will reduce the repairs and maintenance budget in future years.
The Strategic Asset Management Plan will be updated on an annual basis or as required to ensure its contents are correct and compliant with current Australian Standards.
Equal Opportunity Management Programs & Initiatives
The agency has an Equal Employment Opportunity Plan (EEOP) in place and has complied with its requirements. The Department’s EEOP will be reviewed during 2009-10 when the Office of the Commission for Public Employment releases its new strategies on:
• Indigenous Employment and Career Development
• Willing and Able - employment of disabled people
The Department of the Legislative Assembly has commented on the draft strategies as part of the Cabinet Submission process. Additionally, the Human Resources Manager has been an active member of the IECD Coordinators Network Meeting since its re-establishment early in 2009 by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment.
The Department offered work experience to a Year 11 Indigenous boarding student from Kormilda College in June 2009.
Management Training and Staff Development Programs
A range of formal and informal training and development opportunities have been sponsored and are outlined as follows:
Four officers attended the Australia and New Zealand Association of Clerks- at-the-Table (ANZACATT) Conference.
Two officers attended the Australasian Study of Parliament Group (ASPG) Conference and Annual General Meeting.
The agency once again provided sponsorship to several employees to undertake tertiary level qualifications during the last financial year. These included:
• Certificate IV in Project Management
• Certificate IV in Occupational Health and Safety
Generic training opportunities
The August 2008 Northern Territory Election provided the opportunity for the Clerk to undertake several detailed pre-, during, and post- briefing sessions for all staff on the tasks, roles and responsibilities of Parliamentary Officers.
The agency has introduced new templates for use by all work units and a training program was rolled out which all staff were encouraged to attend.
Additionally training sessions were provided following the migration of the new Microsoft Outlook format.
Individual Development Opportunities:
A range of individual developmental opportunities were undertaken to develop skills including:
• developing specifications and tender documents;
• dealing with challenging situations;
• TRIM training;
• Photoshop introduction;
• security risk management; and
• superannuation and retirement seminars.
Following the 2008 Northern Territory Election, intense detailed induction programs were organised for 11 new Members of the Legislative Assembly.
Additionally, induction programs were run for the new Electorate Officers.
A range of training opportunities are on offer to the 25 Electorate Officers who are employed throughout the Northern Territory. The agency once again provided sponsorship to several Electorate Officers to undertake tertiary level qualifications and general development opportunities during the reporting period.
• Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership Program
• Certificate IV Occupational Health and Safety
• Indigenous Women’s Leadership Program
• Improving Writing Skills
• Introduction to Government Working
• Microsoft Outlook
• Understanding Demographic Data
• Turning Data into Information
• First Aid
Occupational Health and Safety Programs
The agency has an Occupational Health and Safety Committee which includes representatives from all of the Northern Territory Government agencies which occupy Parliament House. Areas of responsibility include Parliament House, the Parliamentary precinct and all 25 electorate offices throughout the Northern Territory.
In December 2007 the Legislative Assembly passed legislation creating, on commencement in April/May 2008, the Workplace Health and Safety Act (WHSA) and the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act. Representatives from NT WorkSafe and the Department of Business and Employment (DBE) Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) were invited to attend an OHS Committee meeting by the Clerk to provide an overview of the new legislation and the implications for implementation within the Northern Territory Public Sector (NTPS).
Given the implications of the new legislation and the complexity of the governance structure which will be required it was decided to request a gap analysis to be undertaken on the existing safety management systems in place by members of the Occupational Health and Safety advisory team from the DBE. The gap analysis was finalised in April 2008 and the OHS Committee is working through the recommendations.
THE AGENCY’S STRATEGIC direction and priorities are set out in the Strategic Plan 2007-10, developed at a workshop facilitated by an external consultant and attended by staff across the agency.
The outcomes and outputs for the agency are outlined in Budget Paper No.
3. The outputs and performance measures form the basis for reporting to Treasury in terms of quantity, quality and cost.
The agency continues to produce a Portfolio Budget Statement (PBS) each financial year, which provides performance information down to sub-output level and is a key resource for information required for the Annual Report. The PBS is sent to all Members prior to the Estimates Committee hearings and provides valuable information for assessing the agency’s performance against its objectives and financial allocation.
The objectives set down in the Clerk’s Performance Agreement form the link between the Strategic Plan and Unit Business Plans. These objectives are reported against on a quarterly basis.
The agency’s Management Board comprises the Executive and Unit Heads and meets on a regular basis either at:
• Weekly Planning Meetings - a weekly meeting is held to review the past week’s activities and to identify key tasks and issues for the ensuing week.
These meetings in a small agency serving the parliament are a valuable means of ensuring that management and planning issues are coordinated effectively. The meetings also provide a regular platform for the exchange of information between Unit Heads on the full range of departmental opera- tions; or
• Management Board meetings - ad hoc meetings of the Management Board are held to discuss major policy and strategic developments, updating of progress against business plans and specific higher level management is- sues not addressed in the weekly meetings. The meetings frequently in- clude a guest speaker to address the Board on significant issues that im- pact on whole-of-government operations.
The agency’s Audit Committee met formally on four occasions during the reporting period, meeting the requirements of its Charter. The Committee also convened as a whole or in part on an ad hoc basis to deal with specific issues.
The Committee Chairman wishes to acknowledge the contribution of Mr
Tony Simons, Manager Internal Audit, Department of Planning and Infrastruc- ture to the Committee in his role as an external member to the Committee.
The Audit Committee revised the Internal Audit Committee Charter, under- took a risk assessment process, and developed an Audit Coverage Plan for 2008-11 and Audit Plan for 2008/09.
An audit of Cabcharge use by agency officers was undertaken and a number of recommendations made to provide greater control over the use of cabcharge vouchers and cards.
Audit of Members’ Travel and Mobile/Satellite Telephone Entitlements
Clauses 5.1 to 5.3 of the Administrative Arrangements prescribe account- ability requirements in respect of Member travel as follows:
5.1 Government expense for Member travel, and for associated Travel- ling Allowance or expenses reimbursement, may not be incurred unless ac- countability requirements and procedures established by the Accountable Officer, including certification that conditions set out in this Determination are met, are followed.
5.2 Where Government expense has been incurred for Member travel as well as for Travelling Allowance or expenses reimbursement, the Member must confirm the application of such expense under procedures established by the Accountable Officer. Where a Member is paid Travelling Allowance at a Capital City rate in Schedule 1 the Member must specifically confirm that the relevant overnight stays were in the Capital City concerned.
5.3 The Speaker shall table an “Annual Schedule of Member travel at Government expense” during the first Sittings of the Assembly each year.
For each occasion of Member travel, including travel using frequent flier points under sub-clause 3.11, this Schedule is to contain the following particulars:
(a) the name and home base of the respective Member;
(b) the subclause of this Determination covering the entitlement to travel;
(c) the primary purpose of the travel;
(d) a brief form itinerary;
(e) the dates of the travel;
(f) the category of accompanying person (if any);
(g) the number of overnight stays, Travelling Allowance or expenses reimbursement paid;
(h) Government expense incurred.
To ensure compliance with the Administrative Arrangements and to ensure that Members’ entitlements have been administered in accordance with statutory requirements, an audit of Member travel for the 2008 year was arranged, undertaken by Stanton International Pty. Ltd.
The overall objective of the review was to determine whether Member travel was undertaken in accordance with the Administrative Arrangements (AA) and the relevant Remuneration Tribunal Determination (RTD), and whether the
Annual Schedule of Member travel at Government Expense prepared by the agency provided a complete and accurate representation of travel entitlements utilised during the period 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2008.
The specific objectives of the audit were to:
• determine whether travel entitlements utilised by Members during the period 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2008 were in accordance with relevant Remuneration Tribunal Determinations;
• determine whether the ‘Annual Schedule of Member Travel at Government Expense’ prepared by the Department of the Legislative Assembly provides a complete and accurate representation of travel entitlements utilised during the period 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2008;
• determine whether the format and content of the ‘Annual Schedule of Members’ Travel at Government Expense’ reflects the requirement outlined in the Remuneration Tribunal Determinations;
• where appropriate, recommend amendments to the format and phrasing of the Statements of Members’ Travel Entitlements prepared by the Department of Legislative Assembly
• report to the Department of the Legislative Assembly on any procedural or control matters noted during the audit that need to be addressed, together with information about any errors that need to be rectified before the Schedule is finalised;
• evaluate the adequacy and effectiveness of the annual reconciliation process between the Department of the Legislative Assembly and the Department of the Chief Minister, designed to ensure that there is no duplication of payments;
• prepare a report expressing a formal opinion on Objective 1, for the purpose of being tabled in Parliament.
The audit reviewed all travel entitlements utilised by Members during the period 1 January 2008 – 31 December 2008 inclusive. During the audit the data contained in the draft schedule was compared to that held on the Members’ Entitlements Travel System (METS) and to supporting documentation. METS was reviewed to ensure that all travel recorded on the system had been included in the schedule. The travel entitlements utilised in that period were checked against the Member entitlements specified in the relevant RTDs and associated Administrative Arrangements.
In their report to the Accountable Officer, the auditors stated that:
It is our opinion that the travel entitlements utilised by members during this period were in accordance with the Remuneration Tribunal Determination Number 2 of 2007 and with the associated Administrative Arrangements, and that the Schedule provides a complete and accurate record of such entitlements.
Schedule of payments for satellite phone and mobile telephonesPursuant to clause 7.9(c) of the Administrative Arrangements, a schedule containing the respective totals of Government payments on behalf of each Member for satellite telephones and for mobile telephones during 2008 was prepared and subjected to an internal audit prior to tabling by the Speaker in the February 2009 sittings.
Compliance with Part 9 of the Information Act.
The agency complies with section 134(a) Part 9 of the Information Act in keeping full and accurate records of activities and operations through the electronic Tower Records International Management (TRIM) system. All transfers and maintenance of hard copy files are undertaken through TRIM.
The agency has complied with section 134(b) of the Act by developing a records management policy, records management procedures for all staff as users of the system and record management procedures for Office Services staff as administrators of the system.
The agency responded to the five requests received pursuant to the Information Act during the reporting period.
Executive Management Group
Ian McNeill, PSM - Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
AS CLERK OF THE Parliament and Chief Executive of the agency, Mr McNeill has overall responsibility for agency operations and services. Mr McNeill was appointed to the Legislative Assembly as Deputy Clerk in 1985, a position he retained until he was appointed Clerk in 1993. A Bachelor of Arts (Social Science), Mr McNeill was a career officer of the Australian Senate from 1966 until 1985.
David Horton - Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
AS DEPUTY CHIEF Executive, Mr Horton undertakes a range of responsibilities for agency operations and management as directed by the Clerk. After a 35- year career in the Royal Australian Navy, Mr Horton joined the NT Public Service in 1996 as Official Secretary to the Administrator. He joined the Legislative Assembly in 1998 when he was appointed Deputy Clerk.
Graham Gadd - Clerk Assistant
MR GADD MANAGES the Chamber Support Unit comprising the Table Office and Hansard which provides administrative and secretarial support services to the Parliament. Mr Gadd joined the agency in July 1975 shortly after the election of the first fully-elected Legislative Assembly.
Vicki Long - Director of Corporate Services
MS LONG OVERSEES all services to Members, including salaries and entitlements as well as human resources, information technology and financial systems. Ms Long is a Master of Business Administration with substantive degrees in Arts and Education. She joined the agency in 2002, having been involved in strategic planning and management across a number of NT Public Service departments since 1994.
Robert Donovan - Director of Building Services
MR DONOVAN JOINED the agency in November 2008 and came with over 25 years experience in asset management, building/mechanical services and contract management. Mr Donovan preformed similar duties with the Victo- rian Public Service.
Samantha Day-Johnston - Director of Security
MS DAY-JOHNSTON has been the agency’s Director of Security since June 2006. She has an extensive security, intelligence and law enforcement back- ground serving previously with the Queensland Police Service and Australian Defence Forces. She has formal qualifications including several diplomas in Management, Administration and Operations. She holds a Graduate Certifi- cate in Public Sector Management and is undertaking further studies in Oc- cupational Health and Safety.
Office of the Clerk
THE OFFICE OF THE CLERK is responsible for procedural advice to all Mem- bers of the Legislative Assembly, and for particular advice to the Speaker. The Office of the Clerk is responsible for administrative and procedural arrange- ments for each sitting day subject to the business of the Assembly. On sitting days, the Clerk and Deputy Clerk sit in the Chamber to provide advice and support as required during the conduct of the business of the Legislative As- sembly. This includes noting tabled papers, recording divisions and clarifying Standing Orders as and when questions arise.
The Clerk is Secretary of the Standing Orders Committee and the Commit- tee of Members’ Interests. The Deputy Clerk is Secretary of the House Com- mittee. These committees are comprised of Members of the Assembly and report to the Assembly. The Clerk is Secretary of the Privileges Committee if the need arises (there was no requirement during the reporting period).
The Clerk is the Chief Executive Officer of the agency and as such is sub- ject to the same legislation as any department CEO, however the Legislative Assembly is different in the sense that it does not serve the government; it serves the Parliament (ie all Members of the Legislative Assembly). It is be- cause of this difference that we have identified a future need for a separate, discrete parliamentary service, as is the case in most other Australian juris- dictions.
• following the 9 August 2008 General Election, induct and brief the 11 new Members, organise staff and electorate offices for them and convene the Assembly for the opening sitting one month later on 9 September 2008;
• successfully hosted two visiting Parliamentary delegations;
• address envrionmental sustainability issues associated with the use of Par- liament House;
• commence planning for the Alice Springs sitting of the Legislative Assembly in November 2009;
• maintain liaison with other parliamentary bodies such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), ANZACATT and ASPG as well as the net- works of Clerks in other jursidictions;
• prepare for change of legislation in respect of Members’ interests and their duties of disclosure;
• enter into a Performance Management Agreement with the Speaker, reflect- ing the Strategic Plan, Unit Business Plans & Portfolio Budget Statement.
• liaise with Remuneration Tribunal during the Tribunal’s annual review of Members’ entitlements;
• successfully manage the regional sitting of the Legislative Assembly in Alice Springs in November 2009;
• conduct an internal review (in the first instance) of the agency to identify organisational, staff and succession requirements;
• review the agency’s Strategic Plan (current plan is 2007-2010) and other reporting criteria to reflect the needs and requirements of the Legislative Assembly, its officers and Electorate Officers;
• complete the stage two upgrade of the sound and vision system; and
• implement an internal training program for parliamentary officers.
Chamber Services Unit
THE CHAMBER SERVICES UNIT is comprised of the Table Office and Hansard Unit and provides administrative support to Members for the conduct of parlia- mentary business, is responsible for record keeping and archiving in respect of papers tabled in the Legislative Assembly, prepares and processes legisla- tion in conjunction with the Cabinet Office, Parliamentary Counsel, govern- ment agencies and the Office of the Administrator. The unit is responsible for the production of the Daily Hansard (an uncorrected daily transcript of parlia- mentary proceedings) and the Parliamentary Record (a corrected edition of a parliamentary sitting). The Chamber Services Unit is responsible for produc- ing the daily Notice Paper and Minutes of Proceedings. Further, the unit is responsible for maintaining Standing Orders and incorporating any changes to them following a resolution of the Assembly. The unit is also responsible for the agency’s web site, which is acknowledged to be in need of a general up- grade.
Key AchievementsTable Office:
• production of an indexed Style Manual in respect of Minutes of Proceedings and Parliamentary Procedure;
• construction, development and launch of the agency’s Intranet site;
• creation of indices for and case binding of Assent copies of Acts 2008 (Parliamentary Record volume LXXIV);
• creation of indices for Parliamentary Record bound volumes LXXV to LXXIX for the period 11 October 2005 to 22 February 2007;
• creation of indices and case binding of Parliamentary Papers of 2008 and four case bound condolence tributes; and
• in accordance with Standing Orders Report No 1 of November 2008, undertake a 2009 reprint of Standing Orders in hard copy.
Note: The case binding of the Parliamentary Record means the binding program has been completed to February 2007. The program is dependent upon our financial capacity and upon expertise at the Government Printer.
• produced 33 Rushes (extracts of speeches/debates requested urgently);
• produced 35 Daily Hansards;
• produced six Parliamentary Records totalling some 4000 pages;
• particpated in an Australia and New Zealand Hansard Benchmarking Survey overseen by the Queensland Parliament.
Table 3: Overview of Parliamentary Statistics
The Legislative Assembly sat on 35 days during the reporting period. This figure includes the annual Estimates Committee hearings. The estimate for 2008-09 sitting hours was 310. The actual figure was 343, the increase re- sulting from an extra sitting day being scheduled on 16 February 2009 and increased daily hours following the 2008 General Election. The ‘average hours sat’ column in the above table represents the daily average of hours sat.
Table 4: Business (other than bills) transacted in the Legislative Assembly
Item of Business No
Matters of Public Importance 15
Petitions Presented 428
Written Questions submitted 67 Ministerial Statements 15
Statistic Annual Average Bills Questions Papers
hrs sat hrs sat passed asked tabled
1997-98 180.26 8.23 51 249 495
1998-99 285.43 8.32 90 438 909
1999-00 266.11 8.07 78 340 567
2000-01 233.26 7.44 59 313 581
2001-02 243.32 9.01 85 325 433
2002-03 365.30 9.52 85 445 555
2003-04 351.36 10.20 60 495 406
2004-05 260.50 9.00 56 444 371
2005-06 381.05 10.30 44 518 527
2006-07 294.03 8.40 29 521 458
2007-08 296.27 8.53 49 531 369
2008-09 343.03 9.48 36 464 428
Table 5: Bills processed in the Legislative Assembly
* The Tenth Assembly was prorogued on 21 July 2008 when the Chief Min- ister called an election for 9 August 2008. At that time, all business before the Assembly lapsed, which means the five bills appearing in the first line of the table lapsed.
The Hansard Unit
‘HANSARD’ IS THE INFORMAL NAME of the written hard copy and printed official report of parliamentary debates, named after TC Hansard who was first to record the British Parliament’s debates during the 1800s.
Hansard is produced, stored and published via a complex set of integrated components of audio visual technology, digital recording systems, local area networks, file and print servers, Business Application Servers, Web technol- ogy and thus represents the convergence of many technologies.
The Hansard Unit is responsible for the production of the Parliamentary Record. The unit records proceedings of parliamentary sittings and some committee meetings and produces a written transcript of those proceedings.
The unit is integral to providing an historical and chronological record of parliamentary proceedings as an aid to statutory interpretation of intent of the parliament. The Interpretation Act provides that the Parliamentary Record (specifically second reading speeches of Ministers) may be examined by courts to determine the intent of parliament in respect of legislation.
The Hansard Unit preserves the integrity of the parliament as an institution.
Editors of the proceedings of the Assembly must have appropriate skills and knowledge so as to not change the intent or meaning of words spoken by Members, but to faithfully reflect proceedings of the Legislative Assembly in a manner that upholds the integrity of the institution.
Govt Oppn Ind Total
B/forward 1 July 2008* 3 2 0 5
Introduced 41 5 0 46
Discharged 0 0 0 0
Withdrawn 0 0 0 0
Negatived 0 0 0 0
Lapsed 0 0 0 0
Passed 36 0 0 36
Acts assented to 36 0 0 36
C/forward 30 June 2009 5 5 0 10