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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2840 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

The real issues here are about how the public service is going to work, and whether or not it should be able to work in a contractual system. That contractual system will give some benefits, I am sure, in terms of remuneration to chief executive officers in particular; but, of course, it does have the disadvantage in terms of the issue of tenure. My understanding - and it was reinforced by what the Chief Minister said - is that, for current CEOs, their conditions will still apply, except for the issue of tenure. It is an appropriate piece of legislation that looks at reform of the public service and takes the next step to ensure that we have an accountable public service. I will be opposing this amendment and the related amendments.

MS TUCKER (10.49): The Greens will be supporting Ms Follett's amendments. I have listened to the debate this morning - and we have also thought about it a great deal - and it seems that this is a reasonable amendment. It is offering a choice. Tenure is incredibly important to some people. Perhaps people in the political field have a more reckless or free approach to their employment because there is not a lot of job security in this work. But it is very important to some people, and I think that there should be a choice.

It is maybe timely to add that there is a reform fatigue apparent in a lot of the public service. Perhaps we should have been listening more to people who were working in the service and who for some time had been coming up with intelligent suggestions about training, peer assessment, assessment of managers, and performance pay, which we have gone through and which has not seemed to work either. There are more thoughtful ways of looking at reform that would not have such a traumatic effect on the employees.

MR BERRY (10.50): I want to speak briefly in relation to some of the comments that Mr Moore has made on this matter. First, I will dwell on the issue of tenure. Mrs Carnell says that only tenure is affected. Tenure is everything. If you do not have a job, if you have been dispensed with because you are incompatible, tenure means a fair bit, I can tell you. It is a fundamental issue when it comes to employment.

I could not believe my ears when Mr Moore rose to his feet and talked about how an 11 per cent swing, which delivered seven members, gave them all the say on employment legislation in the Territory. It is irresponsible for an Independent like Mr Moore to use that as a basis to throw his hands up in despair and say, "It is not my fault". In truth, he has to say, "I am comfortable with the political position of the seven who have been elected, and I am going to help them form a majority on this issue if I can". That is the truth of the matter. Do not run this humbug about an 11 per cent swing, which delivers seven members in the Assembly, giving them the majority, because it does not. There are 10 other members in this Assembly.

If you want to support the Liberals on this question, and you do, you must have the good conscience to get up and say, "I think that their ideological position on this is correct". That is what it comes down to. This is the ideological position of the Liberals in relation to individual contracts for workers. They are applying it at the top end in this case. It is their preference to have it applied across the board. There is no question about that. None of them will deny that.

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