Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2816..
Members: Hear, hear!
Questions without notice
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, my question to the Chief Minister is in relation to the administration of executive contracts. Under the Public Sector Management Act, a contract employing an executive cannot be varied to increase the rate of the executive's remuneration. However, section 76 of the act provides for the temporary reassignment of executives, including to higher level positions. These reassignments are known as schedule D variations but may only be for a maximum of nine months. An analysis of the contracts tabled in the Assembly over the last year showed that at least three executives in temporary positions had exceeded the nine-month statutory limitation and that there was no evidence of any merit selection process having taken place.
Minister, why is the government breaching the Public Sector Management Act and merit protection principles in this way?
MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Smyth, for the question. I will have to take advice. I was not aware of the circumstances that are alleged. I will have the allegations that have been made investigated and will be happy to report back to the Assembly on them.
MR SMYTH: Is the bill you tabled yesterday an attempt to cover this up?
MR STANHOPE: Certainly not. As I have just indicated, I am not aware of the allegations or the basis of the allegations. I have absolutely no idea of who or what circumstance it is that the Leader of the Opposition is alluding to, or the individuals he has referred to in his question. I have absolutely no understanding of the basis of his question. In that circumstance, it certainly is not fair to suggest that, through a bill that was introduced yesterday, I am seeking to cover up something that I know absolutely nothing about. So the answer is quite categorically no.
MR STEFANIAK: My question is directed to the Attorney General. Had Mr Lasry, the counsel assisting the coroner, sent copies of any suggested recommendations for adverse findings to counsel representing the ACT government before you undertook your failed appeal to have the coroner stand down?
MR STANHOPE: I have no memory of any such happening. I will have to take advice on whether the counsel assisting had provided draft copy of adverse findings-
Mr Stefaniak: Any suggested recommendations of adverse findings.
MR STANHOPE: Any suggested recommendations of adverse findings. I have absolutely no recollection of any such happening. I am not involved in the day-to-day management, of course, of matters before the courts. Those are entirely matters for the court. I am very conscious and respectful of the separation of powers: I do not involve myself in matters being litigated.