Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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A Bill for an Act to establish the Australian Centre for Social Cohesion, and for related purposes
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Registered 13 Feb 2015
Introduced Senate 09 Feb 2015

2013‑2014‑2015

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Centre for Social Cohesion Bill 2015

 

No.      , 2015

 

(Senator Milne)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to establish the Australian Centre for Social Cohesion, and for related purposes

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                             1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

3............ Simplified outline of this Act.............................................................. 2

4............ Constitutional basis............................................................................. 3

5............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 3

Part 2—Australian Centre for Social Cohesion                                                  5

Division 1—Simplified outline                                                                                  5

6............ Simplified outline................................................................................ 5

Division 2—Establishment                                                                                         6

7............ Establishment...................................................................................... 6

Division 3—Functions and powers of the Director                                       7

8............ Functions and powers......................................................................... 7

9............ Independence of the Director.............................................................. 8

Part 3—Appointments and staffing                                                                            9

Division 1—Simplified outline                                                                                  9

10.......... Simplified outline................................................................................ 9

Division 2—The Director                                                                                         10

11.......... Appointment..................................................................................... 10

12.......... Term of appointment......................................................................... 10

13.......... Remuneration and allowances........................................................... 10

14.......... Leave of absence............................................................................... 10

15.......... Outside employment......................................................................... 11

16.......... Disclosure of interests to the Minister............................................... 11

17.......... Other terms and conditions............................................................... 11

18.......... Resignation....................................................................................... 11

19.......... Termination of appointment.............................................................. 11

20.......... Acting Director................................................................................. 12

Division 3—Deputy Directors                                                                                13

21.......... Appointment of deputy Directors...................................................... 13

Division 4—Staff, consultants and delegations                                             14

22.......... Staff.................................................................................................. 14

23.......... Consultants....................................................................................... 14

24.......... Delegation......................................................................................... 14

Part 4—Miscellaneous                                                                                                       15

25.......... Simplified outline.............................................................................. 15

26.......... Protection from criminal or civil actions............................................ 15

27.......... Rule‑making power........................................................................... 15

 


A Bill for an Act to establish the Australian Centre for Social Cohesion, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1Preliminary

  

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Australian Centre for Social Cohesion Act 2015.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provision(s)

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  Sections 1 and 2 and anything in this Act not elsewhere covered by this table

The day this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

2.  Sections 3 to 27

A single day to be fixed by Proclamation.

However, if the provision(s) do not commence within the period of 6 months beginning on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent, they commence on the day after the end of that period.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

3  Simplified outline of this Act

This Act establishes the Australian Centre for Social Inclusion.

The Director of the Centre has functions relating to improving social cohesion and preventing violent extremism. The Director must, in performing these functions, engage in public consultation and actively involve relevant communities in decisions that affect them.

4  Constitutional basis

                   Without limiting its effect apart from this section, this Act also has the effect it would have if the powers and functions of the Centre were confined to powers and functions that were to be exercised and performed:

                     (a)  in so far as it is appropriate for those powers and functions to be exercised and performed by the Centre on behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth as the national Government of Australia; and

                     (b)  for purposes for which it is appropriate for the Parliament, as the national Parliament of Australia, to authorise the Centre to exercise powers and perform functions; and

                     (c)  in relation to the collection of statistics; and

                     (d)  in relation to external affairs; and

                     (e)  in relation to a Territory; and

                      (f)  in relation to the executive power of the Commonwealth; and

                     (g)  in relation to matters incidental to the execution of any of the legislative powers of the Parliament or the executive power of the Commonwealth.

5  Definitions

                   In this Act:

Centre means the Australian Centre for Social Cohesion established by section 7.

deputy Director means a deputy Director of the Centre appointed under section 21.

Director means the Director of the Centre appointed under section 11.

enactment means an Act or an instrument made under an Act, and includes any other legislation applied as a law of the Commonwealth to the extent that it operates as such a law.

rules means the rules made under section 27.

staff of the Centre means the staff engaged under section 22.

Part 2Australian Centre for Social Cohesion

Division 1Simplified outline

6  Simplified outline

The Centre is established under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

The Director of the Centre has functions relating to improving social cohesion and preventing violent extremism.

The Director is independent, and not subject to direction.

Division 2Establishment

7  Establishment

             (1)  The Australian Centre for Social Cohesion (the Centre) is established by this section.

             (2)  The Centre consists of:

                     (a)  a Director; and

                     (b)  any deputy Directors; and

                     (c)  the staff of the Centre.

             (3)  The function of the Centre is to assist the Director in the performance of his or her functions and the exercise of his or her powers.

             (4)  For the purposes of the finance law (within the meaning of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013):

                     (a)  the Centre is a listed entity; and

                     (b)  the Director is the accountable authority of the Centre; and

                     (c)  the following persons are officials of the Centre:

                              (i)  the Director;

                             (ii)  the Deputy Director;

                            (iii)  the staff of the Centre; and

                     (d)  the purposes of the Centre include the functions of the Director referred to in section 8.

Division 3Functions and powers of the Director

8  Functions and powers

             (1)  The Director has the following functions:

                     (a)  to bring together government bodies, law enforcement agencies, members of the public, academics, researchers and former extremists to:

                              (i)  distribute emerging knowledge and foster dialogue around issues relating to violent extremism in Australia; and

                             (ii)  develop policy responses to build resilient and cohesive communities;

                     (b)  to foster the capacity of individuals, organisations and governments to achieve policy objectives relating to improving social cohesion and preventing violent extremism;

                     (c)  to undertake research and educational programs and other programs, on behalf of the Commonwealth, for the purpose of improving social cohesion and preventing violent extremism, and to coordinate any such programs undertaken by any other persons or authorities on behalf of the Commonwealth;

                     (d)  to examine enactments, and (when requested to do so by the Minister) proposed enactments, for the purpose of evaluating their effect or likely effect in relation to improving social cohesion and preventing violent extremism, and to report to the Minister the results of any such examination;

                     (e)  to promote the public discussion of ways of improving social cohesion and preventing violent extremism in Australia;

                      (f)  on his or her own initiative or when requested by the Minister, to report to the Minister as to the laws that should be made by the Parliament, or action that should be taken by the Commonwealth, to improve social cohesion or prevent violent extremism;

                     (g)  to report to the Parliament on any matter related to his or her functions;

                     (h)  to undertake any other function conferred by this Act or any other law of the Commonwealth;

                      (i)  to do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the above functions.

             (2)  In the performance of his or her functions, the Director is to:

                     (a)  engage in public consultation and have regard to the results of such consultation; and

                     (b)  actively involve relevant communities in decisions that affect them.

             (3)  The Director has the power to do all things that are necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of his or her functions.

9  Independence of the Director

                   The Director is not subject to direction from anyone in relation to the performance of his or her functions or the exercise of his or her powers.

Part 3Appointments and staffing

Division 1Simplified outline

10  Simplified outline

The Centre is established under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

The Director and any deputy Directors are appointed by the Governor‑General.

The staff of the Centre are to be engaged under the Public Service Act 1999.

Division 2The Director

11  Appointment

             (1)  The Director is to be appointed by the Governor‑General, by written instrument, on a full‑time basis.

             (2)  A person may only be appointed as the Director if the Minister is satisfied that the person has appropriate qualifications, knowledge or experience.

             (3)  Whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of Director, an appointment must be made to the office as soon as practicable.

12  Term of appointment

                   The Director holds office for the period specified in the instrument of appointment. The period must not exceed 5 years.

Note:          For reappointment, see section 33AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

13  Remuneration and allowances

             (1)  The Director is to be paid the remuneration that is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. If no determination of that remuneration by the Tribunal is in operation, the Director is to be paid the remuneration that is prescribed by the rules.

             (2)  The Director is to be paid the allowances that are prescribed by the rules.

             (3)  This section has effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.

14  Leave of absence

             (1)  The Director has the recreation leave entitlements that are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.

             (2)  The Minister may grant the Director leave of absence, other than recreation leave, on the terms and conditions as to remuneration or otherwise that the Minister determines.

15  Outside employment

                   The Director must not engage in paid employment outside the duties of his or her office without the Minister’s approval.

16  Disclosure of interests to the Minister

             (1)  The Director must give written notice to the Minister of all interests, pecuniary or otherwise, that the Director has or acquires that conflict or could conflict with the proper performance of the Director’s functions.

             (2)  The notice must be given to the Minister as soon as practicable after the Director becomes aware of the potential for conflict of interest.

17  Other terms and conditions

                   The Director holds office on the terms and conditions (if any) in relation to matters not covered by this Act that are prescribed by the rules.

18  Resignation

             (1)  The Director may resign his or her appointment by giving the Minister a written resignation.

             (2)  The resignation takes effect on the day it is received by the Minister or, if a later day is specified in the resignation, on that later day.

19  Termination of appointment

                   The Minister may terminate the appointment of the Director:

                     (a)  for misbehaviour; or

                     (b)  if the Director is unable to perform the duties of his or her office because of physical or mental incapacity; or

                     (c)  if the Director:

                              (i)  becomes bankrupt; or

                             (ii)  applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors; or

                            (iii)  compounds with his or her creditors; or

                            (iv)  makes an assignment of his or her remuneration for the benefit of his or her creditors; or

                     (d)  if the Director is absent, except on leave of absence, for 14 consecutive days or for 28 days in any 12 months; or

                     (e)  if the Director engages in paid employment contrary to section 15; or

                      (f)  if the Director fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with section 16.

20  Acting Director

             (1)  The Minister may, by written instrument, appoint a person to act as the Director:

                     (a)  during a vacancy in the office of the Director (whether or not an appointment has previously been made to the office); or

                     (b)  during any period, or during all periods, when the Director:

                              (i)  is absent from duty or from Australia; or

                             (ii)  is, for any reason, unable to perform the duties of the office.

Requirements before appointing a person to act

             (2)  A person may only be appointed to act as the Director if the Minister is satisfied that the person has appropriate qualifications, knowledge or experience.

Note:          For rules that apply to acting appointments, see sections 33AB and 33A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

Division 3Deputy Directors

21  Appointment of deputy Directors

             (1)  The Governor‑General may, by written instrument, appoint one or more deputy Directors to assist the Director.

             (2)  The period and terms and conditions of a deputy Director’s appointment are as set out in the instrument of appointment.

             (3)  A person may only be appointed as a deputy Director if the Minister is satisfied that the person has appropriate qualifications, knowledge or experience.

Division 4Staff, consultants and delegations

22  Staff

             (1)  The staff of the Centre are to be persons engaged under the Public Service Act 1999.

             (2)  For the purposes of the Public Service Act 1999:

                     (a)  the Director, the deputy Directors and the staff of the Centre together constitute a Statutory Agency; and

                     (b)  the Director is the Head of that Statutory Agency.

23  Consultants

                   The Director may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, engage consultants to assist in the performance of the Director’s functions and the exercise of the Director’s powers.

24  Delegation

                   The Director may, by writing, delegate any or all of the Director’s functions and powers to:

                     (a)  a deputy Director; or

                     (b)  an SES employee, or acting SES employee, who is a member of the staff of the Centre.

Part 4Miscellaneous

  

25  Simplified outline

This Part deals with miscellaneous matters.

26  Protection from criminal or civil actions

             (1)  No action, suit or proceeding (whether criminal or civil) lies against a protected person in relation to anything done, or omitted to be done, in good faith by the person:

                     (a)  in accordance, or purportedly in accordance, with this Act; or

                     (b)  in the performance, or purported performance, of the Director’s functions; or

                     (c)  in the exercise, or purported exercise, of the Director’s powers.

Note:          This section extends to, for example, a thing done in good faith in accordance with a delegation under section 24.

             (2)  The protected persons are as follows:

                     (a)  the Minister;

                     (b)  the Director;

                     (c)  a deputy Director;

                     (d)  a member of the staff of the Centre.

27  Rule‑making power

                   The Minister may, by legislative instrument, make rules prescribing matters:

                     (a)  required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed by the rules; or

                     (b)  necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.