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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 2811 ..

MR CONNOLLY (continuing):

responsibility for decisions will not be fairly and honestly copped by the Minister of the day, but will be shoved out to the public servant. It will be the public servant who loses his job when something becomes politically unpalatable or politically untenable. That is a fundamental shift in the traditions that have applied in this place and in all parliaments in Australia for a very long time.

For that reason, Ms Follett's principal objections this morning could nowhere have been better demonstrated than by Mrs Carnell's performance after question time today, where she clearly tried to duckshove and say, "No, no, no; it is just recommendations". "It is just recommendations", she says. It is the view of the management of your department, for which you are responsible as Minister. Joh Bjelke-Petersen could not explain responsible government in a Westminster system, and nor can you, because you consistently blame somebody else.

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, if Mr Connolly wants to make his fatuous points, he is entitled to; but to shout them across the chamber, I think, is not really in the spirit of parliamentary debate.

MR SPEAKER: It is uncalled for, I agree. I uphold the point of order. We must not have shouting matches, if we can possibly avoid it. We do not need to shout across the table anyway.

MR OSBORNE (3.18): Mr Speaker, I rise to say that I will be supporting the Bill in principle.

Mr Berry: Shame, shame, shame!

MR OSBORNE: There is no shame, Wayne. I have no problem with senior public servants being placed on contract. I think it should have been done a long time ago. I think that public servants, with the roles they fill today, the departments they take care of and the amount of money they are paid, should be accountable. If they do not perform, I do not believe that the taxpayer should be forced to keep them. We are all in that. We all have three-year contracts here. If we do not perform, we are not here. I have played football: If you do not perform, you do not get a new contract. Why should public servants be any different? Public servants, I believe, can have a long career in their chosen field, as long as they perform. I think it is outrageous to suggest that this is anything other than requiring them to be more accountable.

I do have some problems with a few things in the Bill. Like my colleague Mr Moore, I have not had a chance to look at Ms Follett's amendments, but I believe that we are going to adjourn the debate today and I will attempt to do that over the weekend. My big concern, along with Mr Moore, is about the disclosure of the contracts and also the compatibility clause.

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