Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2856 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (11.46): Mr Speaker, I think that someone listening to Ms Follett's remarks could be forgiven for thinking that she is opposed to the idea of dealing with public servants on the basis of incompatibility with the government of the day. Those remarks, I think, sound very noble and fair and make her sound like a person who is out to defend the public service. I think members who have not been here for a while ought to be told a bit of history about Ms Follett's very early days in self-government. Almost the first action taken by the Follett Government elected in May 1989 was to unceremoniously and without reason sack a very senior public servant who was in the Government Service. Members know who that person was. That person was a senior member of the Government Service at the time. He was removed from the purview of the ACT service. At that stage, of course, there was no separate ACT Government Service, admittedly, but this particular officer had been assigned to work in the then ACT component of the Federal Public Service. He was booted out of that position, as I recall, in the Department of the Environment, Land and Planning and sent packing back to the Commonwealth.
Mr Berry: You said "sacked".
Ms Follett: He never left the Commonwealth, in fact.
Mr Connolly: He was transferred, actually.
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, apparently those opposite are going to draw some distinction between being put out of a job altogether and being taken out of a particular job in the public service.
Mr Connolly: It is a pretty substantial distinction, Gary, either out the door or move to that office.
MR HUMPHRIES: Apparently they see some distinction in that. I do not see much of a distinction at all.
Mr Connolly: Yes, we do.
MR HUMPHRIES: The question needs to be asked, "Why was this person moved?".
Mr Kaine: Because he was incompatible.
MR HUMPHRIES: Because he was incompatible; because he had had a stoush with the then Deputy Chief Minister. The two men disliked each other intensely. As soon as that particular Deputy Chief Minister was elected he called this man in and said, "X, you are sacked".
Mr Speaker, the argument that we must not sack people because they are incompatible really does not carry much weight when you realise that those people who are espousing that argument are themselves the ones who have used that capacity. At least, Mr Speaker, in the circumstances which they often throw back, where Mr Bissett some time later was removed from office by the Alliance Government, there was a serious policy problem, namely, a blow-out in the budget of the Department of Health,