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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 2787..


MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order, Mr Berry. If the volume of conversation in the chamber rises to such a degree that I feel it is affecting the person delivering a speech, I will certainly draw attention to it. However, I really cannot stop members from speaking together and I certainly cannot interpret what they are thinking or what their motive might be in so doing. Continue, Ms Follett.

MS FOLLETT: For the benefit of Mr Moore and Mr Osborne, I will just recap. I was pointing out that under this legislation no chief executives or senior executives will be able to work part time; they must all be full time. Another aspect of this legislation that has not received much public debate is the fact that the legislation removes conditions of employment from about 150 public servants. It is our view that it is highly inappropriate that legislatures remove conditions of employment from public employees. Mr Speaker, that principle is especially important where the public employees are effectively precluded from attempting to influence the legislature by virtue of their positions within the public service.

Finally, Mr Speaker, I want to destroy one of the urban myths that this Government has attempted to create in order to justify its destruction of the career structure within the ACT public service. That is that the Government is currently somehow hamstrung by the existing Public Sector Management Act. That is simply untrue. This impression can be given only by a government which attempts to mislead and can be successful only if others are in fact ignorant of the existing provisions of the Public Sector Management Act. The existing section 30 enables the Chief Minister to transfer a chief executive, while subsection 126(1) enables the Chief Minister to terminate the appointment of a chief executive. The Act then allows for a chief executive, with 28 days' notice, to be demoted to a position within the Senior Executive Service or, if they so choose, to be retired from the service. I know that will come as news to many members of this Assembly, probably including Mrs Carnell. There exists also within the current Act, Mr Speaker, provision for the chief executive of a department to spill all the SES officers in a department and to alter the executive structure of the department. Section 80 provides for the option of fixed term appointments - that is, contracts - for a period of up to five years.

Mrs Carnell: But that is not a performance contract.

MS FOLLETT: I wonder whether you might protect me from Mrs Carnell's constant interjections, Mr Speaker. On Tuesday the Chief Minister asserted:

A fixed term contract just means that the contract finishes at a particular time. There are no requirements for performance during that period.

Mr Speaker, I wonder whether Mrs Carnell really understood what she said on that occasion. What she is saying is that officers employed on fixed term contracts at a senior executive level to do a specific job can simply bide their time until the contract period runs out, with no requirement whatsoever for performance. I think nobody whatsoever with any experience in the public service would even contemplate such an absurd proposition. It is mere rhetoric on Mrs Carnell's part.


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