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MR BERRY (12.06 am): I remember that some time ago - dare I be accused of reflecting on a decision of the Assembly, though a former one - there was much ado about how it was a requirement, in the interests of the future of the Territory, that this Assembly should, through its committee process, screen the people who were appointed by the Government to positions on statutory authorities and so on. There was a long debate about how necessary it was, and Mr Moore was one of the avid supporters of that process. It was Mr Moore's legislation. What I am trying to do is expose a little bit of the hypocrisy that is floating around here today.
Mr Moore: It was legislation that you resisted, speaking of hypocrisy.
MR BERRY: For good reason. Mr Moore interjects that it was legislation we opposed. Yes, we did oppose it, for good reason. What I am pointing out to the Assembly now is that in those days Mr Moore and the Liberals argued that it was not possible to do the job properly unless you had floated past a committee of this Assembly the names of all the people who were going to be managing our enterprises. We heard somewhat emotional arguments about these issues; but now we see that they are largely abandoned, by the Liberals in particular. The Liberals are not prepared to support something which ensures that people with particular areas of expertise are appointed to the board.
As has been made clear, the selection panel would consist of the chair of the board or company, a couple of persons nominated by the relevant bodies - those three bodies nominated in the legislation - as well as two other persons nominated by the voting shareholders. It is not as if the relevant bodies have the numbers on this. This goes again to that issue of proper and fair consultation about what ought to happen with our organisations. The Government would say, “No, this is a corporate body, and the relevant shareholders ought to be making the appointments. That way we can do it in-house. It has nothing really to do with you because, with all the freedom and flexibility they are going to have, they cannot help but succeed”. I am afraid not. As has been said, in the greedy 1980s, with all the greedy whiz-kids around the country, those who were alleged to be so good at their jobs, we got into all sorts of bother.
I think what has been proposed by Ms Horodny is reasonable. It guarantees access to three relevant bodies and representatives from those relevant bodies with particular qualifications, but not only those qualifications. Mr Moore gives me some hope. He says that I have not heard him speak yet in relation to this issue. If he were to support something along the lines of this amendment, I would take back everything I thought or said about him.
Mr Moore: That is a strong motivator.
MR BERRY: What I thought I said about you today. It will all be forgotten tomorrow anyway. As far as the Government is concerned, I think they have demonstrated that they are prepared to be branded as hypocrites on this issue. In the past they have avidly supported an open process of appointing people. On this occasion, they are not prepared to offer the same sort of freedom and flexibility in appointments to these important positions.