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Government (Amendment) Act No 38 of 2000

Assent: 12 September 2000
Commencement: 16 October 2000

REPUBLIC OF VANUATU


GOVERNMENT (AMENDMENT) ACT

NO. 38 OF 2000

Arrangement of Sections

1. Amendment of section 9
2. Amendment of section 13
3. Insertion of new section
3A Amendment of section 16
4. Repeal of section 17 and substitution of new section
5. Repeal of section 18 and substitution of new section
5A. Amendment of section 19
6. Amendment of section 22
7. Commencement

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REPUBLIC OF VANUATU


GOVERNMENT (AMENDMENT) ACT

NO. 38 OF 2000

An Act to amend the Government Act No. 5 of 1998 (the "Principal Act").


BE IT ENACTED by the President and Parliament as follows:

Amendment of section 9

1. Section 9 of the Principal Act is amended by adding at the end the following subsections:

"(4) A Minister (including the Prime Minister) must not:

(a) interfere or attempt to interfere in employment issues relating to the Public Service; or

(b) interfere or attempt to interfere in employment issues relating to the Teaching Service Commission, the Judicial Service Commission or the Police Service Commission.

(5) To avoid doubt, nothing in subsection (4) is to be taken to limit the right of a Minister (including the Prime Minister):

(a) to notify in writing the Public Service Commission, the Teaching Service Commission, the Judicial Service Commission or the Police Service Commission of employment issues relating to that Commission that are affecting the implementation of the Government's policies; and

(b) to request that Commission to respond to the issues in writing by setting out the action it proposes to take in relation to the issues so as to enable the Government's policies to be implemented.

(6) The Public Service Commission, the Teaching Service Commission, the Judicial Service Commission or the Police Service Commission, as the case requires, must respond to the request within 28 days after receiving it or within such longer period as may be specified in the notice.".

Amendment of section 13

2. Section 13 of the Principal Act is amended by:

(a) deleting paragraph (d); and

(b) adding at the end the following subsections:

"(3) The Attorney-General must, if requested to do so by the DCO, attend its meetings and provide legal advice to the DCO on any submission or paper being considered by the DCO.

(4) The Chairperson of the Public Service Commission must, if requested to do so by the DCO, attend its meetings and provide advice on any submission or paper being considered by the DCO that is relevant to the Commission's powers or functions.

(5) Before the DCO considers any submission or paper, the secretary to the DCO must send a copy of the submission or paper to each member of the DCO and to the first political advisor for each Minister.

(6) Subject to subsection (7), the Chairperson of the DCO must not list a submission or paper for the DCO to consider unless he or she is satisfied that:

(a) there has been proper consultation with other Ministries in relation to the submission or paper; and

(b) the first political advisor in the Ministry sponsoring the submission or paper has approved it.

(7) Subsection (6) does not apply if the Chairperson is satisfied that the submission or paper is urgent.

(8) At a meeting of the DCO, a quorum is constituted by 7 members. The DCO can meet whenever there are enough members to constitute a quorum.

(9) If a member of the DCO is not available to attend a meeting, the member may direct an officer within his or her Ministry to attend the meeting on the member's behalf.".

Insertion of new section

3. After section 14 of the Principal Act the following section 15 is inserted:

Advice from Attorney-General and Director-General of Finance

15. "(1) The Council must not consider a submission unless the Council has available to it advice from the Attorney-General on the legal implications of the submission.

(2) The Council must not consider a submission unless the Council has available to it advice from the Director-General of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management on the financial implications of the submission and whether the submission complies with the principles of responsible fiscal management.

(3) The advice referred to in subsection (1) or (2) must be provided within a reasonable time before the Council meets.".

Amendment of section 16

3A. Section 16 of the Principal Act is amended by:

(a) inserting after paragraph (b) the following paragraph:

"(c) not receive a greater total remuneration, including benefits, than a Director-General of a Ministry;"

(b) inserting after paragraph (d) the following paragraph:

"(e) not direct or attempt to direct the Director-General or his or her staff in the administration of a Ministry, other than to convey a lawful direction of the relevant Minister relating to the implementation of government policy.".

Repeal of section 17 and substitution of new section

 4. Section 17 of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section is substituted:

"Number of political advisors

17. (1) The Committee of the Council referred to in section 21 is to determine the number of political advisors to be appointed to advise the Prime Minister and each Minister.

(2) The number of political advisors must not exceed:

(a) 5 for the Prime Minister; and

(b) 4 for the Deputy Prime Minister; and

(c) 3 for any other Minister, unless a genuine need has arisen for additional advice in which case it must not exceed 4.".

Repeal of section 18 and substitution of new section

5. Section 18 of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section is substituted:

"Role of political advisors

18 (1) The role of a political advisor is:

(a) to provide advice and assistance to his or her Minister in relation to political issues, including in relation to policy matters; and

(b) to act as a liaison on that Minister's behalf.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), a political adviser is to:

(a) interact with the public and communities on behalf of the Minister; and

(b) support the Minister in performing his or her parliamentary duties; and

(c) liaise with the media for and on behalf of the Minister; and 

(d) liaise with the Ministry and bodies that report to the Minister on the implementation of the Government's policies and the Minister's lawful directions; and

(e) monitor the performance of the Ministry and bodies that report to the Minister; and

(f) monitor the implementation of the Government's policies and the Minister's lawful directions by the Director-General of the Ministry; and

(g) administer the Minister's office within the budget allocated to the office; and

(h) respond to representations made to the Minister; and

(i) participate in briefings given by the Director-General to the Minister; and

(j) do such other matters in relation to political issues as are specified by the Minister.

(3) Each political advisor for a Minister and the Director-General of the Ministry are to support the Minister by developing constructive and cooperative relationships.".

Amendment of section 19

5A. Section 19 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting after subsection (1) the following subsection:

"(2) A political advisor who contravenes paragraph 16(e), (f), (g), (h) or (i) commits an offence against the Leadership Code Act No. 2 of 1998 and is liable to be dealt with under that Act accordingly.".

Amendment of section 22

6. Section 22 of the Principal Act is amended by deleting subsection (2) and substituting the following subsections:

"(2) The support staff (other than political advisors) for each Minister are to be appointed by the Committee on political advisors on the recommendation of the Minister.

(3) The Committee must determine general terms and conditions of employment for such support staff.

(4) Each member of the support staff of a Minister must enter into a written contract of employment with the Minister.

(5) A person who was a member of the support staff of a Minister immediately before this subsection commences, ceases to be an employee within the meaning of the Public Service Act No. 11 of 1998 on entering into a contract of employment under subsection (4)."

Commencement

7. This Act commences on the day on which it is published in the Gazette.

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