Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

Other title

Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 by the Public Sector Employment and Management (Transitional Savings) Act to be changed. The amendment in the schedule makes this possible. On that note, I wish to draw the attention of honourable members to an imminent change in the name of the Department of Law to the Northern Territory Attomey-GeneraFs Department. The change will take effect on 1 August this year. Mr Speaker, with members indulgence, I seek leave to incorporate a full explanation of that proposal. Mr SPEAKER: Is leave granted? Leave denied. Mr FINCH: Mr Speaker, the Department of Law is in the process of completing the development of its corporate plan. The function of a corporate plan is to guide and focus public sector departments over a 3- to 5-year period to enable them to deliver public services to people in the Northern Territory in the most efficient manner possible. In delivering services, departments are required to take account not only of existing needs but of future needs as well as future opportunities for such services to be improved or adapted to changing conditions. The change of name of the department is part of this process. The corporate plan will provide a focus for delivering services over the next 5 years, and perhaps well into the next century. The departments last corporate plan was compiled in 1987. The Department of Law was established in 1978 as part of self-government. Its first chief executive officer was Ian Barker QC who was also Solicitor-General. At that time, one person held both appointments. Mr Barker was previously a barrister in private practice and since has resumed his practice at the NSW bar. Mr Barker guided the department in its transition from a Commonwealth department to a separate public service agency and helped form its own unique identity. In 1981 Mr Brian Martin, who is now the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, succeeded Mr Barker. Mr Martin was a solicitor in private practice prior to the appointment. In 1986, the Office of Solicitor-General and the position of Secretary of the Department of Law were separated and the first new secretary was Dr Clyde Croft. This decision was itself part of the first corporate planning review initiated by Mr Martin and completed by Dr Croft. Dr Croft had recently completed study at Cambridge and was the primary impetus in giving the department what is called a flatter structure. A flatter structure means that the line of communication from top to bottom is opened up and made easier and more efficient by reducing unnecessary levels of bureaucratic structure. The structure that Dr Croft gave the department is substantially the one it still possesses and is the one generally held by management to be the most efficient. In 1988, Dr Croft went to the Victorian bar and Mr Peter Conran was appointed subsequently as head of the department. He had been formerly the deputy secretary of the department and was responsible for policy advice. Mr Conran became head of the Chief Ministers Department in 1991 and was replaced at the Department of Law by Meredith Harrison in 1992. Meredith was formerly the deputy secretary and had been responsible for litigation. Meredith continues to provide the same high level of dedication and professional competence that is required of the head of an Attorney-Generals department. 3467

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