Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 2790 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
As Ms Horodny mentioned this morning, some quite innovative models which have been applied in local councils around Australia are more holistic, comprehensive and responsive than the indicators we have at present in the ACT. Another problem for the Greens is that we do not see any integration in indicators for economy, social policy and the environment across programs. Even if we do refine our indicators, it is of no use if performance objectives in one department undermine the objectives of another department.
The final issue I would like to touch on is that there is no discrimination in the application of contracts in this legislation. It is predicated on the notion that contracts are best, no matter what the job. There has been no thoughtful consideration of which jobs may be more appropriate to place on contracts and which jobs can be fulfilled only through experience and stability. Given this fact, as Ms Follett said on Tuesday, it is hard to agree with Mrs Carnell that the legislation is only about good management and not ideology. Mrs Carnell continually claims that it is about management, not politics or ideology. Managerialism is, of course, an ideology. It is a current fashion, along with purchaser-provider splits, output-based funding and so-called customer-orientated service, all of which are very much about financial bottom lines and little else. Ms Follett was with me last week when we were at a seminar at the ANU on competition policy reform. A speaker from Victoria mentioned how offended Victorian citizens were to be described in a letter from Mr Kennett as customers. This is a trend that the public and the community are fearful of - and with good reason, in our view.
Mr Speaker, the Greens have serious concerns about this legislation, and we will not support it in principle. We will reconsider our position if proposed amendments are successful, as these will provide more accountability at the chief executive level and remove the application of contractual arrangements across the senior executive level of the public service.
MR KAINE (12.12): Mr Speaker, the significant feature of the approach of particularly the Opposition seems to be, "We have always done it another way, and therefore we will not change now". I cannot imagine anybody but the Labor Party approaching today's world with that kind of closed mind. I made the point the other day that I had been a senior public servant for about 13 years. If anybody was going to be conservative and dig their toes in and say that we should not change it in this chamber, I would have thought it would be me, because I am a bit conservative and I do not adopt change for the sake of change.
One of the things that struck me about the public service in my day was its inflexibility. There was a sort of in-built inertia in the public service. You always did the thing "this way"; you never did it any other way. Innovation was not looked upon favourably. They were the social mores of the public service. One never dobbed in a mate if they did not do the right thing. There were all these strange notions. Many of them were built around the concept that you started in the public service when you were 16, 17 or 18, and you stayed there your whole life. You worked your way up in the same way as the telegram delivery boy who got to be departmental secretary. It always seemed to me at the time that this was strange. Here we were moving into the 1980s and the 1990s;