Adjourned debate on second reading
(Continued from 10 May 2017)
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 17:20 :23 ): I rise very briefly to contribute to the second reading of the bill. The bill is very simple, in that it makes permanent the provision in the act which allows for the minister to suspend the APY Executive Board at any time they want. The minister does not need to provide a reason, nor does the suspension need to be as a result of any reviews into the Executive Board. This was a controversial provision of the 2014 bill, which was addressed by way of a sunset clause that saw the expiration of this clause three years after the clause came into operation.
The minister advises that this clause was needed in 2014 due to the concerns about the previous executive. Although there have recently been elections and a new Executive Board appointed, the minister believes that such provisions are still necessary to ensure the executive performs properly. This indicates that the minister may not have faith in the new executive and needs to have a big stick at the ready just in case things go wrong. I have great reservations about giving this sort of power to a minister to use entirely at their discretion. I am unaware of any other minister in this parliament who would have such broad powers to dismiss an elected body without any checks or balances, and would be grateful if the minister could advise if there are any in existence.
There is no avenue for appeal outlined and, as I said before, no reasons need to be provided for suspension. Given my reservations, I have filed amendments which would subject this clause to a five-year sunset clause. I would be grateful for the government's position on this amendment during the second reading, because without such a safeguard on such broad powers I will be unable to support the second reading.