Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1842 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
it purports to do? Where is she going to go for the input that is going to give us this flash of insight into whether perhaps it should be done in a different way? I do not see it. The Leader of the Opposition talks about scrutiny and open government. The place in which legislation is subjected to scrutiny in an open government is, by and large, this place. This is where the debate takes place. There are some things that I believe should properly be referred to committees of the Assembly. There are some matters that do need public scrutiny, but this is not one of them. I believe that the Chief Minister is entitled, as the former Chief Minister was, to set about structuring the organisation that serves this Government along the lines that she sees fit.
There is no suggestion that the public service is going to be decimated, demoralised, destroyed or anything of the kind. I have not heard the Leader of the Opposition suggest that that is the case. My understanding is that the senior officers of the ACT Government Service, by and large, have accepted this proposal. They are enthusiastic about it. They want to get on with it. Referring the thing to a committee and trying to muddy the waters and slow down the ability of the Government to get on with what it must do is not something that I support. Mr Speaker, I do not support this matter being referred to any committee.
MR MOORE (10.58): Mr Speaker, I have been listening to the debate with some interest - from my office for most of it. I recall clearly that Rosemary Follett last year introduced a Public Sector Management Bill that she hoped would go straight through. A similar motion that it be referred to the Public Accounts Committee was moved. As I recall it, the then Chief Minister did not want it referred to a committee. She felt that it was an issue for management but at the same time gracefully accepted the will of the Assembly. I would hate to misrepresent Ms Follett, but that Public Sector Management Bill went to a committee and was considered by a committee. It was considered very quickly by that committee.
Ms Follett: Six months.
MR MOORE: Ms Follett interjects, "Six months". The committee considered the Bill quickly so that it could be passed within her timeframe. I thought it important that that Bill be considered by a committee. I have always advocated that if legislation going through this Assembly needs to be considered by a committee that ought to be done. For me, the question now becomes what the timeframe for this committee to report should be, rather than whether or not this legislation should go to a committee.
I believe that there are good reasons why the Chief Minister wishes the Bill to go quickly to a committee. In the last few minutes the Chief Minister has indicated to me that even this very tight timeframe would be too long. I believe that it would be appropriate for us to adjourn this debate until a later hour today so that we can negotiate an appropriate timeframe for this committee in an agreeable way. I am quite happy for the debate to come back on. I am quite happy to support the Bill going to a committee. I also believe that the Government has to get on with the job of governing and doing what it needs to do to deliver. It was on exactly that basis that I supported Labor on many occasions by saying, "Yes, we will meet your timeframe".