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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 91..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

It should be noted that, because I am attempting to amend the existing entrenchment act, under section 5 (1) of that act my bill cannot come into effect unless it is passed by at least a two-thirds majority and a majority of electors at a referendum. If the Assembly passes my bill in the next few months, then a referendum can be held at the time of the next ACT election in October. I recognise that this will entail some cost, but the cost will be marginal above the costs already being incurred by government in holding the election. Of course, I believe that the stability that the fixed election date gives to the ACT political system is worth the cost of a referendum. Certainly the 1995 referendum that entrenched the Hare-Clark voting system must have been regarded by Mr Humphries as a worthy initiative. I look forward to the Assembly's support to entrench the principle of a fixed election day for the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Moore ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Public Sector Management Amendment Bill 2001

Mr Osborne , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR OSBORNE (10.39): The series of public service reforms that swept the country over the past two decades were based upon injecting a greater degree of efficiency and flexibility into the day-to-day business of government. The goal was to produce a public service that was fairly lean, more productive and more responsive to an ever-changing work environment and new government initiatives. To help achieve this goal, academics increasingly borrowed ideas from the private sector. Many of them have worked; some have not.

Two ideas that have gained a stronghold in the public sector nationwide are outsourcing and the removal of senior management from permanent tenure and signing them up on a fixed-term, performance-based contract. Unfortunately, both of these measures have failed in terms of allowing public servants to do what they do best-namely, being a cost-effective instrument of administration that is ready to implement the programs of whatever political party holds power as government of the day. Certainly, there may have been increased achievement under these two reforms, but far too often it has been lacking in quality.

Bungled projects, such as the hospital implosion and the Bruce Stadium redevelopment, highlighted lessons that we, as a parliament, would do well to heed. Both of these projects have been scrutinised at length by independent experts. Not surprisingly, both of those experts, the coroner and the Auditor-General, had fairly similar things to say. They found unprofessional action from public servants at all levels, systemic failures with the way the projects were handled from start to finish, incompetence and unnecessary outside interference.

What had caused such comprehensive failure? How has it come about that our public service appears to have been clear-felled of people with the ability to organise the safe demolition of a building or the partial construction of a football stadium? My examination of these two projects has led me to the strong conclusion that only a deep-


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