Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to require Government board members to be appointed with regard to ensuring gender balanced representation, and for related purposes
For authoritative information on the progress of bills and on amendments proposed to them, please see the House of Representatives Votes and Proceedings, and the Journals of the Senate as available on the Parliament House website.
Registered 25 Jun 2015
Introduced Senate 24 Jun 2015

2013‑2014‑2015

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

Australian Government Boards (Gender Balanced Representation) Bill 2015

 

No.      , 2015

 

(Senators Xenophon, Lambie, Lazarus and Waters)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to require Government board members to be appointed with regard to ensuring gender balanced representation, and for related purposes

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                             1

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

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 1

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

4............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

5............ Crown to be bound............................................................................. 3

6............ Extension to external Territories.......................................................... 3

Part 2—Gender balanced representation on Government boards         4

7............ Government boards must be gender balanced..................................... 4

Part 3—Reporting requirements                                                                                  6

8............ Annual report on gender composition................................................. 6

9............ Minister must prepare and publish compiled report............................ 8

Part 4—Miscellaneous                                                                                                         9

10.......... Act is special measure......................................................................... 9

 

 


A Bill for an Act to require Government board members to be appointed with regard to ensuring gender balanced representation, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1Preliminary

  

 1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Australian Government Boards (Gender Balanced Representation) Act 2015.

 2  Commencement

                   This Act commences on the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 3  Simplified outline of this Act

This Act requires Commonwealth officials making appointments to Government boards to ensure that each board is made up of at least 40% men and at least 40% women.

This Act also requires each portfolio Department to prepare a report each financial year setting out information relating to the gender composition of Government boards within that portfolio.

The Minister must then publish a consolidated report setting out the statistics regarding gender composition across all Government boards.

 4  Definitions

                   In this Act:

Australia, when used in a geographical sense, includes the external Territories.

board member means a member of a Government board, and includes the chair of the board (if any).

Cabinet includes a committee of the Cabinet.

Government appointee means a person who is appointed to a Government board by a Government appointer.

Government appointer means any of the following to the extent that the person or body is responsible for appointing an individual to a Government board:

                     (a)  the Governor‑General;

                     (b)  the Cabinet;

                     (c)  a Commonwealth Minister;

                     (d)  a Secretary of a Department of State.

Government board means the following:

                     (a)  a Commonwealth entity (within the meaning of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013);

                     (b)  a Ministerial advisory committee;

                     (c)  a review committee that is comprised entirely of appointments made by a Minister or the Cabinet;

                     (d)  a Commonwealth statutory authority.

 5  Crown to be bound

                   This Act binds the Crown in right of the Commonwealth. However, it does not bind the Crown in right of a State, of the Australian Capital Territory, of the Northern Territory or of Norfolk Island.

 6  Extension to external Territories

                   This Act extends to every external Territory.

Part 2Gender balanced representation on Government boards

  

 7  Government boards must be gender balanced

             (1)  When appointing a Government appointee to a Government board, a Government appointer must ensure that the Government board consists of:

                     (a)  at least 40% male board members; and

                     (b)  at least 40% female board members.

Exceptions

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to the following:

                     (a)  appointments to a court or tribunal;

                     (b)  appointments which must be made on the basis of a nomination by a non‑Government third party (including a State or Territory, or a foreign country);

                     (c)  appointments that a Commonwealth law requires a particular individual or office holder to hold;

                     (d)  appointments to a Government board where:

                              (i)  the maximum number of board members is 4 or less; or

                             (ii)  the maximum number of board members means it is not mathematically possible for the requirement to be complied with;

                     (e)  where there are extraordinary circumstances that mean that it is not reasonably practicable for the Government appointer to comply with the obligation in relation to a particular appointment.

Example 1: In relation to paragraph (2)(c)—an Act may require that the Secretary of a Department also be the chair of a particular board.

Example 2: In relation to paragraph (2)(d)—if a Government board has 3 members (2 female board members and 1 male board member) it is not mathematically possible for both of the requirements in subsection (1) to be met.

             (3)  If paragraph (2)(d) or (e) applies, the Government appointer must ensure that the Government board consists of a balance of male and female board members that complies with the requirements of subsection (1) to the greatest extent possible.

Part 3Reporting requirements

  

 8  Annual report on gender composition

             (1)  The Secretary of a Department of State must, no later than 30 days after the end of each financial year, prepare a report on the gender composition of the Government boards in the Department’s portfolio.

             (2)  A report under subsection (1) must be given to:

                     (a)  the Minister; and

                     (b)  if the Minister responsible for administering the Department to which the report relates is another Minister—that other Minister.

             (3)  A report under subsection (1) must include the following:

                     (a)  a list of all the Government boards in the portfolio;

                     (b)  the number of positions on each Government board, including information regarding any requirements as to the minimum or maximum number of board members;

                     (c)  the gender composition of each Government board, expressed as both an aggregate and a percentage, as at;

                              (i)  the end of the financial year; and

                             (ii)  the end of the 3 previous financial years;

                     (d)  if there have been any appointments during the financial year in relation to which the Government appointer has not complied with section 7—the particulars as to why the Government appointer did not comply with that section;

                     (e)  the total number of Government appointees appointed during the financial year:

                              (i)  as board members (other than the chair of a board); and

                             (ii)  as chair of a board;

                      (f)  the aggregate gender of those Government appointees.

             (4)  A report under subsection (1) must not include:

                     (a)  the name of a Government appointee; or

                     (b)  in relation to any particulars included in the report in accordance with paragraph (3)(d)—any information that may:

                              (i)  directly identify a Government appointee; or

                             (ii)  directly or indirectly identify any other individual who may have been considered by a Government appointer for a board member position.

             (5)  The Secretary must include in the Department’s annual report for the financial year:

                     (a)  a statement of compliance setting out whether or not each appointment to each Government board in the portfolio during the financial year was in compliance with section 7; and

                     (b)  if section 7 was not complied with in relation to each appointment during the financial year—the particulars as to why the Government appointer did not comply with the requirements of that section in relation to the appointment; and

                     (c)  information regarding how the details of the portfolio’s compliance can be accessed in the report tabled under section 9.

             (6)  Information included in the Department’s annual report under subsection (5) must not include:

                     (a)  the name of a Government appointee; or

                     (b)  in relation to any particulars included in the information in accordance with paragraph (5)(b)—any information that may:

                              (i)  directly identify a Government appointee; or

                             (ii)  directly or indirectly identify any other individual who may have been considered by a Government appointer for a board member position.

 9  Minister must prepare and publish compiled report

             (1)  The Minister must prepare and publish a consolidated report on the gender composition of Government boards in the previous financial year.

             (2)  A report under subsection (1) must include the following:

                     (a)  the information provided in each report under subsection 8(1);

                     (b)  the total number of Government boards in each portfolio;

                     (c)  the total number of positions on Government boards in each portfolio;

                     (d)  the gender composition of Government boards in each portfolio, expressed as both an aggregate and a percentage, as at:

                              (i)  the end of the financial year; and

                             (ii)  the end of the 3 previous financial years;

                     (e)  the total number of Government appointees appointed during the financial year:

                              (i)  as board members (other than the chair of a board); and

                             (ii)  as chair of a board;

                      (f)  the aggregate gender of those Government appointees.

             (3)  The Minister must cause copies of a report under subsection (1) to be tabled in each House of Parliament within 10 sitting days of that House after the Minister has received all the reports under subsection 8(1).

             (4)  A report under subsection (1) must not include:

                     (a)  the name of a Government appointee; or

                     (b)  in relation to any particulars included in the report in accordance with paragraph 8(3)(d)—any information that may:

                              (i)  directly identify a Government appointee; or

                             (ii)  directly or indirectly identify any other individual who may have been considered by a Government appointer for a board member position.

Part 4Miscellaneous

  

 10  Act is special measure

                   To avoid doubt, this Act is a special measure for the purposes of section 7D of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.