Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2842 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
That is exactly the same position as I took when Mr Berry was a Minister. On many occasions I gave him the benefit and allowed the Labor Party to run the administration in the way that it wished to run the administration. I do not resile from that responsibility at all. I accept the point that Mr Berry raises that there are certainly 10 votes here that could easily knock this legislation over. When I take the position that I will allow the Government to govern on this, I then - - -
Mr Berry: Explain - - -
MR MOORE: No; I accept the point.
Mr Berry: Explain to the Assembly how you would modify their excesses, which you said publicly that you would do.
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MR MOORE: Then we have the situation that that is how I am going to vote. Mr Berry interjects, "Show me how you are modifying their excesses at all". Mr Berry, watch this place.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (10.57): I want to briefly enter the debate to pick up a point that Ms Tucker raised about tenure in the course of the debate. The remarks that she made do lead me to suggest that there is an ideological difference between us in government and Ms Tucker. She made the point that the view that she took was that many employees of the Government Service found tenure very important, and for that reason tenure ought to be retained. The ideological difference in that respect is that this Government believes that the Government Service is primarily not about offering employment, although it is a very important subsidiary effect of having a Government Service, but about delivering a service to the people of the community. That is the primary goal.
Most people would acknowledge that tenure has not been a constructive component of good quality government service. In some cases it has achieved that. In some cases it clearly has failed miserably. In fact, you could go beyond that and say that in most situations tenure has serious drawbacks. I point, for example, to the decisions of the present Federal Government which seem to be eroding concepts of tenure in academic circles. That has been long acknowledged as an important part of the academic world, but it is now realised to be also contributing towards a decline in the quality of academic work. People ought to be made to expect that when they are in a position where they have to deliver certain services, be they to the academic world or to the community at large, they ought to be able to prove that they are continually doing that. Tenure erodes that capacity. There is a place for tenure in some circumstances; but, generally speaking, people ought to be able to demonstrate on an ongoing basis that their work and their position within the public service warrant the continuation of their position at that level. That is what this legislation is about.