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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2839 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

Very importantly, these positions will be filled by merit selection. Of course, that is somewhat different to what has happened in at least some circumstances in the past. Certainly, the whole basis of this Bill is that SES officers will no longer have life tenure; but they will have performance-based contracts for a fixed term. If a relationship between a Minister and an agency head, or between an agency head and an SES officer, breaks down to such an extent that both parties believe that it cannot be continued, then the only way for that person to leave that job is to have their contract paid out - unless they are dishonest or something.

This new provision gives the people involved substantially more rights, substantially more responsibility, than was the case in the past. There will not be a very convoluted system, as Ms Follett said, of standing them down, moving them sideways, attempting to find something else for them to do and going through an amazing sort of approach. There will be a quite up-front contractual arrangement between two parties. We believe that is an appropriate approach. It is interesting that Ms Follett still does not know the difference between a time contract - a contract that goes for three years but has no performance base in it - and a performance-based contract. The basis of this whole legislation is that from now on, if this legislation is passed in its current form, there will be very definite goals, requirements and outcomes written into the contracts that exist at SES level, as there should be with any senior management.

To recap: There are no reductions in rights or entitlements of existing staff; they are not diminished. The only change is tenure, and loss of tenure is being recompensed by an increase in salary. Therefore, in my view, there is no loss of rights or entitlements.

MR MOORE (10.47): I have given quite some thought to this issue because I think that it is fundamental to what the Liberal Government and the Chief Minister are trying to achieve and is quite fundamental to what Labor is trying to oppose. If I had been supportive of the position that Rosemary Follett has taken, I would have opposed the Bill in principle. The Leader of the Opposition indicates that that is correct. We have a division of ideological positions. I think that it is appropriate that the Government, which had a substantial swing towards it at the last election - - -

Mr Berry: There are seven of them.

MR MOORE: The seven of them, as Mr Berry indicates, but with a 10 per cent swing - - -

Mr Berry: There are 10 others.

MR MOORE: We can look at it, Mr Berry, as either a 10 per cent swing towards or - - -

Mr Humphries: It was 11 per cent, actually.

MR MOORE: There we are; an 11 per cent swing. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt. There was an 11 per cent swing against a government that had been in office for five years. Any political analyst would see that that is a fair measure of dissatisfaction with what was going on.

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