Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2784..
MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, my question is also to the Chief Minister and it refers to the report on a review of staff salary allocations to members of the ACT Legislative Assembly and so on. Could the Chief Minister advise the Assembly of the cost of that recent review of staff salary allocations? I draw your attention to page 56 of the report on the review. It is particularly interesting to note that Mr Prasad, who did the review, thought that Executive staffing should not be touched at all. I noticed, though, that in the report there are a number of staff members who were left out. I phoned your office earlier and I presume you have been advised that I was going to ask this question. I did not want to name any individual people. There is a person in your office and a receptionist in the offices of two other Ministers. Clearly, these people are doing work supporting the Minister. Why are they not considered as staff employed by Executive members?
MRS CARNELL: The cost of the Vishna Prasad report was $29,500. Vishna Prasad was asked to review the staff employed under the LA(MS) Act, Mr Moore. That means the staff that are employed out of the Executive budget. All of the staff that are employed under the Executive budget are listed on page 56. All of the other staff involved are departmental officers.
MR MOORE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Clearly, these particular people I referred to are administrative workers who are doing exactly the same job as people who work for the Leader of the Opposition, as people who work for the Speaker, and as people who work for each member in this chamber. Is it not, therefore, just a juggling act that you have done to save some $100,000 from your Executive budget, making the Executive budget appear, as I recall, to be some $795,000 for staffing as opposed to some $900,000 for staffing?
MRS CARNELL: The staff member in my office that you are referring to actually worked for Ms Follett as well. She works for the Chief Minister's Department. At one stage I think she had an office over in the Chief Minister's Department. I determined that it was more efficient to have her in my office as the speechwriter.
Mr Moore: That is not the question.
MRS CARNELL: I am sorry; it is the question.
Ms McRae: No; the receptionist, he said.
MRS CARNELL: No, no; this is the person in my office. This person has worked for the Chief Minister's office. I suspect that she has worked for every Chief Minister since self-government, and in fact written every single departmental or organisational speech. The departmental officers do no political work whatsoever. They do not write political speeches; they do not do any of that sort of work at all. They do only the speeches and the work involved in ministerial tasks. Departmental liaison officers or departmental officers fit into those categories. The one that you are referring to is very much along those lines. In fact, in my office anyway, we have fewer departmental staff than was the case under the previous Government.