Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 2815 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
If those opposite, facile as they think it might be, are pretending that they did not engage in that kind of industrial democracy when they were in government, they are posing a very tawdry lie. I do not think they would even do that, frankly. I think they would admit that they did, when they were in government, and would do in future were they ever fortunate enough again to get the treasury bench, engage in a process of allowing people within the system to be able to contribute to industrial decisions and to issues of budgetary savings and other processes that implement the broad framework of government policy. I stand by that process, as I am sure Mr Connolly did when he was Minister for Health. It is the only way of making decisions that are sound and sensible.
Mr Connolly very cheerfully described himself as a conservative on this issue. He said that he felt that they were taking the traditional approach towards management and public sector issues against those opposite.
Mr Moore: Mr Connolly seems to be a conservative on almost every issue - DLP.
MR HUMPHRIES: I accept his self-description. Mr Berry might have a few problems with that, but I certainly do not mind him saying that. Mr Speaker, unfortunately, I do not think we on this side of the chamber can describe ourselves, as the corollary to that, as radicals, because we are not. On this issue, we are simply playing catch-up with virtually every other jurisdiction in this land. They have gone down this path already. The economic rationalism that is inherent in this Bill is an approach accepted and implemented vigorously by Labor governments across this land. Mr Connolly ought to be honest enough to admit that, if he were a member of the Federal Labor Government, the New South Wales Labor Government, the Queensland Labor Government, or one of the other Labor governments that have bitten the dust in the last couple of years, he would have been on this side of the chamber making the sorts of statements I am now making. He would have been here carrying the flag for these reforms.
These reforms are not radical. They acknowledge the fact that in a complex city-state such as ours, in a complex polity, we need to be devolving some decision-making to people who accept real responsibility. You cannot expect Ministers in the Government to be able to make minute decisions about all of these areas. You must devolve responsibility - and you do not devolve it to automatons; you devolve it to people who accept a real level of responsibility for decisions they make, and you remunerate and acknowledge appropriately that level of responsibility. That is why this Bill is before the chamber today. It will put in place a more effective, more modern, more responsive public service, and I hope members will acknowledge that that is the case and support it to the hilt.
MR BERRY (3.31): I will not speak for long, but I want to point to a couple of the hypocritical remarks that have been made by Mr Humphries. Mr Humphries seems to be trying to indicate that the only way you can hold senior public servants in some sort of accountable arrangement is under the proposals that are being put forward by the Liberals opposite. Before I get onto that, let me talk a little about management. This is the Government that has been talking about the managers managing, handing over the