I think it was opportune that we adjourned at the point we did yesterday. Certainly I was thoroughly confused with this section by the time we had finished with it. I have spent a lot of time between last night and this morning trying to unravel the system of appointment. With due respect to the parliamentary draftsmen, it is gobbledygook. I defy anybody to read this and to explain how an appointment is made when we run into the difficulties envisaged by some of the subsections to section 21. I have an amendment to delete the word "particular". I would like to draw attention to the fact that, first, we have to look at subsection (4) which begins, where the Minister makes "a" request under subsection (7). It is not a special request; it is "a" request. Subsection 9 (a) reads:
if the committee is unable to select any suitable candidate pursuant to a particular request, ...
It has now become "a particular" request.
Subsection (4) begins with:
Where the Minister makes a request under subsection (7) or (9) or section 24 and at the time of making the request any of the offices specified in subsection (2) is vacant, the Minister may appoint a person to be a member of the committee and such person shall remain a member of the committee until such time as the selection by the committee pursuant to the request is made.
That is absolutely right. It becomes "the" request which is precisely what my amendment provides. In that case "a" request becomes "the" request. That has to be precise.
In subsection (8) there is a reference to "a" request under subsection (7), and that is also fair enough. Subsection (9) (a) states:
if the committee is unable to select any suitable candidate pursuant to a particular request...
which does not make any sense at all. In my opinion subsection (9) (b) should include the words:
If the Government decide not to appoint to be the Director General any of the candidates or, as the case may be, the candidate, selected by the committee pursuant to the request.
Apart from being incorrect, what is proposed is contradictory to what comes in the next section. In the next two subparagraphs it is quite clear that the question of "the" request is totally irrelevant. In subparagraph (i) and (ii) it is quite clear that the Government can act on the basis of any of the requests. Subsection (9) (b) (i) reads:
(i) the Government shall appoint a person to be the Director General who was among those, or, as the case may be, was the candidate, elected by the committee pursuant to a previous request (if any) in relation to that appointment,...
We then go on to subsection (9) (b) (ii) which reads:
(ii) the Minister shall make a further such request...
It is not "a particular request", it is "a further such request". It continues:
...to the committee and the Government shall appoint to be the Director General a person who was among the candidates or, as the case may be, was the candidate selected by the committee pursuant to that request or pursuant to another such request made in relation to that appointment.
I do not understand it even though I have gone through it thoroughly. It would be fair to say, without being in any sense disparaging — and I am not trying to be smart about it — that if I were to put my name on the list of candidates for this job today, nine or ten requests later if the Government felt that I was the right person to choose they could take my name from the number of candidates who applied. However, that is a separate issue. One cannot talk about "a" particular request because "the" particular request cannot be followed right down through the sections. It is "a" request. I have a difficulty in principle with the way in which it operates, particularly in relation to the two subparagraphs.
The Government appears to be able to do anything they wish. Even the relationship between the Minister and the Government is not clear at some points. We are not talking about a particular request. To tie it together, subsection (9) (a) refers to a particular request, but it is not about a particular request. It is about any request which comes under subsection (4) which reads:
Where the Minister makes a request under subsection (7) or (9) ...
It is any request under those subsections, and it is also any of the requests made under subsection (9) (b) (ii). From what I can figure out they are interchangeable. At the end of the day somebody is going to say "words say what I say they mean" but nobody can follow through logically how an appointment is to be made. It is trying to cover all aspects — and I do not disagree with that — but it is trying to cover some things which cannot be dealt with. The normal practice is that when a committee of selection fails to make an appointment there is only one thing to do and that is to start all over again. Normally, that means advertising from the beginning.
I have another specific question on subsection (9) (b) (ii) in relation to the last few clauses in it. It states "... or pursuant to another such request ...". When the Minister or the Government make a request at that point are they talking about a rerun of the whole section, or are they talking about going back to subsection (9)? That is unclear in subparagraph (ii). It is not clear whether that request is supposed to go back to subsection (9) or whether it goes back to the very beginning of the structure.