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Department of Premier and Cabinet

2. Consultation

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2.1 Prior consultation on Cabinet Minutes

2.1.1 Prior consultation is an essential element in the preparation of a Cabinet Minute. Agencies initiating a Cabinet Minute must ensure that they consider the interests of other departments and relevant external stakeholders. In particular, all government agencies which may have an interest in or be affected by the matter should be consulted before a Minute is signed and lodged with the Cabinet Office.

2.1.2 Consultation during the preparation of Minutes should uncover and resolve, as far as possible, any problems or policy conflicts arising from the proposal.  Ineffective consultation frequently leads to delays in Cabinet’s consideration of the proposal, with Ministers likely to be directed by Cabinet to undertake appropriate consultation prior to further consideration by Cabinet.

2.1.3 Early and genuine consultation is required to ensure high quality advice to Cabinet. Genuine consultation should aim to identify and resolve potential conflicts before the matter reaches Cabinet, and will usually entail more than the circulation of a draft submission for the information of other agencies. It is important that adequate time is allowed for agencies to examine and respond to issues identified during the consultation process.

2.1.4 It is at the discretion of the sponsoring Minister to determine the range of preliminary consultation to be undertaken in the preparation of a Minute. In general, consultation should be as wide as practicable and include other Ministers and agencies which may have an interest in the matter. Local government, industry and community bodies may also need to be consulted. Where consultation is undertaken outside of the Government, care must be exercised to ensure that confidential information is adequately protected.

2.1.5 The Departments of Premier and Cabinet and Treasury and Finance will usually have an interest in all Cabinet Minutes, and should always be consulted for assessment from a whole-of-government perspective.

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2.2 Consultation statement

2.2.1 Annexe 6.7 of a Cabinet Minute ('Prior Consultation') is to provide Cabinet with information about consultation on the Minute prior to its submission to Cabinet. It should include:

  • The name of agencies, organisations and/or other parties consulted;
  • The method(s) of consultation;
  • A summary of the views of each party; and
  • How the views of each party are incorporated in the Minute (or why they are not).

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2.3 Formal consultation on Cabinet Minutes

2.3.1 On receipt in Cabinet Office final Cabinet Minutes (and sometimes Briefings, see Section 2.4) are assessed and forwarded to agencies and/or Government businesses so that formal consultation comments may be provided. Comment will be sought from any relevant, interested or affected agency (see Section 7).

2.3.2 Submissions classified as “Secret” are subject to restricted distribution. When Secret Minutes (identified as such on the envelope), are distributed to a ministerial office or agency they are to be opened by the Minister or addressee only.

2.3.3 The formal consultation process undertaken by the Cabinet Office after the lodgement of a Cabinet Minute is not a substitute for the thorough prior consultation which should be undertaken as part of the preparation of the submission. Formal consultation will usually identify for Cabinet instances where prior consultation has been inadequate or where identified issues have not been resolved.

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2.4 Prior consultation on Cabinet Briefings

2.4.1 Consultation with government agencies is not necessary for Briefings on Final Bills, Committee decisions or Senior Appointments.

2.4.2 Consultation on Information Briefings is generally not required but may be undertaken at the discretion of the sponsoring Minister.

2.4.3 Consultation is required for Briefings on appointments to Government boards, authorities, committees etc if:

  • The necessity to consult with particular interest groups is specified in the relevant Act; or
  • There is a gender imbalance in the proposed membership of the board, authority or committee.

2.4.4 Nominees selected for appointment should be consulted to ensure that they have no business or personal interest, real or perceived, which might conflict with the interest of the board, authority or committee to which appointment is proposed. This consultation is essential as all appointment Briefings include a declaration by the sponsoring Minister that no such conflict exists.

2.4.5 Where boards, authorities, committees etc are established by legislation there may be a requirement to consult with specified bodies concerning nominations for appointment. Agencies must ensure that such legislative requirements have been fulfilled prior to presenting nominations to the Minister.

2.4.6 The Tasmanian Government is committed to gender equity in the membership of Government boards and committees.  The Gender Equity Guidelines and a template for the Certification Form may be found at www.dpac.tas.gov.au/divisions/corporate_and_governance_division/govern ment_services/cabinet_office.

2.4.7 Agencies must consult with the Tasmanian Women’s Register at an early stage of the process of seeking nominations for appointment.  The Communities, Sport and Recreation Division (CSR) in the Department of Premier and Cabinet maintains the Tasmanian Women’s Register to assist agencies identify suitably skilled and/or qualified women candidates for appointment.

2.4.8 When a vacancy is to be filled by the nomination of a non-government organisation, the agency concerned must ensure that such organisations are informed of the Government’s commitment to gender equity on government boards and committees, and should request that the organisation give appropriate consideration to the representation of women when making nominations for appointment.  Such organisations may also be referred to CRT for assistance in locating suitable candidates.

2.4.9 All Cabinet Briefings for board appointments must include a completed Tasmanian Women’s Register Appointment Certification Form. Cabinet Office will not accept a Cabinet Briefing for board appointments unless the proposed membership meets the Government’s target of equal gender balance, the Briefing includes a completed and signed Certification form, or the Premier has approved an exemption for the specific appointment.

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