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Consultation between heads of agencies and non-government parties may occur during the caretaker period under strictly controlled conditions.
Leaders of non-government parties may make a request for consultation with agency staff through the Premier. Approval may be given by the Premier for non-government party representatives to have discussions with appropriate agency staff. Agency staff should not involve themselves in these discussions unless approval has been given by the Premier.
A non-government representative may have other Members of Parliament or staff present at such meetings. A head of agency or his/her representative may have other agency staff present. It is not appropriate for ministerial office staff to be present.
The request for consultation is to be at the initiative of the non-government parties, not agency staff. The head of agency is to ensure that his or her Ministers are informed when the discussions are taking place. Heads of agencies are to ensure that agency staff authorised to conduct or attend briefings have a proper understanding of the matters likely to be raised at such briefings.
Agency staff are not authorised to discuss the Government's policies or to give opinions on matters of a party political nature. The subject matter of the discussions should relate to the machinery of government and administration. The discussions may include the administrative and technical practicalities and procedures involved in implementation of policies proposed by the non-government parties. If the non-government representatives raise matters which, in the judgement of the agency staff, seek information on the Government's policies or expressions of opinion on alternative policies, the agency staff are to suggest that these matters be raised with the relevant Minister or the Premier.
The detailed substance of the discussions will be confidential but Ministers will be entitled to seek general information from agency staff on whether the discussions kept within agreed purposes and these Guidelines.