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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2844 ..

Question put:

That the amendment (Ms Follett's) be agreed to.

The Assembly voted -

AYES, 8	 	NOES, 9

Mr Berry	Mrs Carnell
Mr Connolly	Mr Cornwell
Ms Follett	Mr De Domenico
Ms Horodny	Mr Hird
Ms McRae	Mr Humphries
Ms Tucker	Mr Kaine
Mr Whitecross	Mr Moore
Mr Wood		Mr Osborne
		Mr Stefaniak
Question so resolved in the negative.

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (11.08): I move:

Page 2, lines 17 to 19, paragraph (b), omit the paragraph.

Again, this is the first of a number of amendments that are related. The related amendments in this case are Nos 4, 34 and 35, 37, 46, 48, 49, 51 and 53. This amendment, which I have circulated, implements recommendation No. 3 of the Public Accounts Committee report on this legislation. The underlying issue in this amendment and the related amendments is whether the current Senior Executive Service are also to be forced from their current status as career public servants to a system which is completely contract based, with no guarantee of tenure beyond the expiry of the current contract.

As I said during the in-principle debate on this Bill, the move to an entirely contract-based Senior Executive Service, with current senior executives being forced to give up their public service career or be demoted, is by no means universal. The Government has attempted to tell us that it is doing only what everyone else is doing. That is not the case. The Commonwealth is not doing it; Queensland is not doing it; the United Kingdom is not doing it either. Even where it has been done elsewhere in Australia, such as in South Australia, the system has been introduced prospectively, not retrospectively. It is a very serious step that we are considering here. The current senior executives in South Australia have retained their existing terms and conditions, while the new appointees are offered contract appointment.

The amendment that I have moved and the related amendments retain a career-based public service at the SES level, with promotion on merit, through a prescribed process, and with the necessary checks and balances to avoid nepotism and politicisation. The system was retained at the time of separation from the Australian Public Service.

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