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





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 Ombudsman - or too hot for us. We propose to expand section 32, regulations, by inserting after authority the words or an action or class of action of a department or authority. The TIO raises an interesting question. At the moment, nobody believes that the TIO comes under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman, including the Ombudsman. I want it to be brought under his jurisdiction because, at times, the TIO is certainly not immune to treating people not as well as it should. We do not want to be too harsh, but I want the Ombudsman to have authority to step in there. This allows us to declare statutory authorities that he will have control over. There are certain decisions within the TIO that I do not think the Ombudsman should be allowed near, principally commercial decisions and possibly some of the claims decisions. As far as the TIOs investments are concerned, it has a high-powered board charged with running the organisation commercially. It would not be appropriate to have the Ombudsman involved there and dictating what it should or should not have done with its funds. M r Ede: Like investing money in Dalway. M r PERRON: It is just not the Ombudsmans role to second-guess a high-powered board on the making of commercial decisions with very significant consequences. Under the Territory Insurance Office Act, the board is charged with the responsibility of running a commercial show. In respect of the settlement of claims, there is a section in the TIO Act that states that the minister shall not direct the TIO in any way. I think the minister has some influence commercially over the board. For example, we do not let its members get into ... M r Ede interjecting. M r PERRON: We might exclude them from going over to Singapore or whatever. In relation to claims, what we want to avoid is the sort of situation where a ministers friend or relative is involved in a car crash, experiences a hard time in the claims assessment procedures, and the minister seeks more favourable treatment for the claimant. That cannot happen. The TIO has to be able to run its claims processes totally, without anybody seeking to exert undue influence over it, and I believe that may extend to the Ombudsman as well. I will reserve my judgment on that until the case is put. Certainly, the Ombudsman may have a role in respect of procedures of the TIO in terms of how long it takes to settle a claim or how it treats a workers compensation case. We hear occasionally of unfortunate souls with injuries knocking on the door and being told that they have no entitlement to payment. They are told to find themselves a lawyer. I believe the procedures of the TIO in the handling of its customers ought to be subject to scrutiny. At the moment, no one scrutinises the TIO in the way that the Ombudsman is able to do. I do not want any reporting that the office is in terrible shape because it is not. However, I want that scrutiny of those procedures. Members should bear in mind that, if a regulation is made in this regard, bringing the TIO in but excluding classes of actions by the TIO from the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman, that will be tabled in this House under the regulations process. Members will have it brought to their attention and, if there is cause, they can make a hoo-ha and carry-on about that. 3590