Senate Order Listing on Departmental and Agency Appointments and Grants


PM&C portfolio responses to Senate Order 13 and 14 are available under the Information Publication Scheme.

Supplementary Budget Estimates

The reporting period for the Appointments and Grants orders commences the day after the previous reporting ends and extends two weeks before the list is required to be tabled.  Lists musts be tabled seven days prior to the commencement of each Senate Estimates hearing.

Tabling date: Monday 13 October 2014
Reporting period: Monday 5 May to Sunday 28 September 2014

Senate Orders

Appointments Order

On 24 June 2008, the Senate agreed to a motion by Senator Minchin requiring all Australian Government departments and agencies to produce a list of all appointments made by the Government (through Executive Council, Cabinet and ministers) to statutory authorities, executive agencies, advisory boards, government business enterprises and all other Commonwealth bodies, including the term of the appointment and remuneration for the position.  A further amendment to the order agreed to by the Senate 12 May 2009 requires departments and agencies to include the place of permanent residence by state or territory of appointees.

The order also requires departments and agencies to produce a list of all existing vacancies to be filled by government appointment to statutory authorities, executive agencies, advisory boards, government business enterprises and all other Commonwealth bodies.

The lists are tabled three times a year, no later than 7 days before the commencement of:

  • Budget estimates
  • Supplementary budget estimates
  • Additional estimates

Grants Order

On 24 June 2008, the Senate agreed to a motion by Senator Minchin requiring all Australian Government departments and agencies to produce a list of all grants approved in each portfolio or agency, including the value of the grant, recipient of the grant and the program from which the grant was made.  A grant is defined in Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997 (FMA Regulations) 3A(1) as: an arrangement for the provision of financial assistance by the Commonwealth:

  • under which public money is to be paid to a recipient other than the Commonwealth; and
  • which is intended to assist the recipient achieve its goals; and
  • which is intended to promote 1 or more of the Australian Government’s policy objectives; and
  • under which the recipient is required to act in accordance with any terms or conditions specified in the arrangement.

FMA Regulations 3A (2) lists arrangements which are taken not to be grants.

The lists are tabled three times a year, no later than 7 days before the commencement of:

  • Budget estimates
  • Supplementary budget estimates
  • Additional estimates

Any questions regarding grants policy and grants reporting should be directed to the Department of Finance and Deregulation, Grants Policy Team: grants@finance.gov.au.

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Meeting the Senate Order on Departmental and Agency Appointments

Scope

The Appointments Order covers all relevant Commonwealth bodies – statutory authorities, executive agencies, advisory boards, government business enterprises and all other Commonwealth bodies, including FMA Act agencies.

Information to be reported

The information to be tabled comprises:
  • a list of all appointments made by the Government, including:
    • the term of the appointment
    • remuneration for the position and
    • place of permanent residence by state or territory of appointees; and
  • a list of existing vacancies to be filled by government appointment.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Actual or Nominal remuneration?
A: The Senate Order on Appointments requires reporting of the “remuneration for the position”.  In most cases this will be the nominal remuneration for the position as set by the Remuneration Tribunal or relevant authority.  In some cases, the actual amount paid may be less than the nominal amount due to, for example, guidelines on the remuneration of former members of state parliaments appointed to significant Commonwealth offices.

In cases where the actual amount paid is different to the nominal remuneration for the position, agencies should report the nominal remuneration but place a caveat on this by annotating it along the following lines:

  • The actual amount paid is less than the nominal remuneration for the position due to individual circumstances, for example guidelines relating to former state parliamentarians appointed to Commonwealth offices. 

Q : Does the Order cover non-statutory advisory bodies?
A : Yes, appointments and vacancies relating to non statutory advisory bodies do need to be reported.

Q : Can details of remuneration be withheld on privacy grounds?
A : Non-disclosure of remuneration cannot be justified on privacy grounds – it must be reported.

Q : Should all possible benefits and reimbursements be reported under the order?
A : Only the level of remuneration is required under the Appointments Order. Agencies may also wish to clarify that the figure does not include benefits/reimbursements by adding a footnote.

Q : Should acting arrangements be reported under the Senate orders?
A : A comprehensive response to the Senate Order on Appointments would include acting arrangements. However, agencies should be consistent with previous tabled reports, and if acting arrangements have not previously been reported, agencies may wish to clarify with a footnote that their list does not include acting arrangements.

Q : What if an appointee’s place of permanent residence is overseas?
A : If an appointee does not have a permanent address in Australia, it is suggested that agencies state: "No permanent Australian address".

Q : When is an appointment considered to be ‘made’?
A : The Order requires “a list of all appointments made by the Government...” If there is any uncertainty about when an appointment is considered to be “made”, it should be assumed that this occurs when the appointment is approved by the Executive Council, Cabinet or minister.

In other words, the Order covers appointments approved but not necessarily commenced during the reporting period.  The only caveat on this is if an appointment has not yet been announced publicly by the government.  If this is the case, agencies would need to discuss this with their Minister’s office before disclosing the appointment.

Q : Do I report vacancies not intended to be filled?
A : The wording of the Order requires “a list of vacancies to be filled by government appointment...”.  If there is no current process underway to fill a vacancy, and no intention to fill the vacancy in the long term, there is no need to report it.

Q : Departmental and Agency Appointments?
A : The Order requires ‘a list of all appointments made by the Government (through Executive Council, Cabinet and ministers) to statutory authorities, executive agencies, advisory boards, government business enterprises and all other Commonwealth bodies.  The Order does not require Government departments and agencies to list all appointments and vacancies within their Department or agency.

Q: Do I need to report reappointments or extensions?
A: All appointments that have undergone a formal approval process involving a decision of the Cabinet or a minister or the Executive Council should be reported under the Senate Order – including re-appointments. However, if this was not a formal reappointment, but an extension for less than 3 months there is no need to report it under the Senate Order (extensions of more than 3 months are likely to require a formal approval process, and should therefore be reported – page 19 of the Cabinet Handbook refers).

Q: Do I need to report it when a board member transfers to a different position within the same Committee (eg deputy chair becomes the chair)?
A: As above, all appointments that have undergone a formal approval process should be reported under the Senate Order. This means a member who has been formally appointed (ie by ExCo, the Cabinet or a minister) in another position within the same body should be reported.

Q: Do I need to report ex-officio members?
A: As ex-officio members are not appointed through a Cabinet process they should therefore not be reported under the order.

Q: Are reports tabled in response to the Senate Orders available to the public?
A: Lists tabled in response to the Senate order since 2011 are published by each department on their website under the Information Publication Scheme. For lists prior to 2011, they are available to the public if requested. To request a tabled list, please call the Senate Inquiries line on (02) 6277 3010.

Other queries

Departments and agencies responding to the Senate Order on Appointments should ensure information reported is accurate and consistent with previous reports. If in doubt, annotate entries to clarify. Top

Reporting period and process for the Senate Orders on Departmental and Agency Appointments and Grants

Reporting period

The reporting period for both the Appointments and Grants orders commences the day after the previous reporting period ends and extends to two weeks before the list is required to be tabled to allow time for quality assurance and clearance.  Lists must be tabled seven days prior to the commencement of each Estimates hearing.   

Process

The process is similar to that for the Harradine Order (relating to indexed file lists) so each affected agency is responsible for compiling and tabling lists relevant to the agency’s operations. 

  • The key difference to the Harradine process is that the lists will be tabled in the Senate rather than a letter referring to a list on a website.

Please note, each agency is accountable for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided in their tabled lists.

Tabling procedure

There is no need to table multiple copies of each list – just one copy of each list (one list for Appointments and Vacancies, one list for Grants), with a covering letter addressed to the Senate President and signed by the relevant Minister.  Separate covering letters are required for the Grants and Appointments lists.

The signed letters with attached lists should be hand delivered to the Senate Programming Officer in Room SG.25 (non-sitting days), or SG.105 (sitting days), Senate, Parliament House.  Any queries about the process for tabling should be directed to the Senate Programming Officer on (02) 6277 3012.

If you have nothing to report under the orders you still need to table a letter stating a Nil response in order to be compliant.  If there is a ‘nil response’ to both the Grants and Appointments orders, these should still be tabled under separate covering letters.

Incomplete or inaccurate reports

Agencies that discover inaccuracies or omissions in tabled reports must table a letter containing the additional or corrected information as soon as possible.  The covering letter should refer to the date of the original letter signed by the Minister. Do not table additional or corrected information as part of subsequent reports (as this information will not fall within that report’s reporting period).

Inquiries

Questions regarding the Senate Order on Departmental and Agency Appointments should be emailed to PM&C Parliamentary team.

Any questions regarding grants policy and grants reporting should be directed to the Department of Finance and Deregulation, Grants Policy Team: grants@finance.gov.au.

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Last Updated: 2 September 2014