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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2860 ..

MR SPEAKER: I remind all members: If you want to get on with the debate, fine. Otherwise, we can sit here and go right through 275 standing orders.

MR HUMPHRIES: I will desist, Mr Speaker.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (11.55): May I speak on the amendment?

MR SPEAKER: You may. I would be delighted if somebody would.

Ms McRae: That would be novel.

MRS CARNELL: I know this is a novel approach in this debate. With regard to incompatibility, I think we should get back to the reality of the situation. We are talking about senior managers here. We are talking about people running multimillion dollar agencies and programs and so on. When you get a situation where your senior managers cannot work for their immediate superior you have a problem, not just with regard to contracts or to their future in the public service, but with regard to the provision of programs within the ACT. That has to be our bottom line.

This is an outcomes-based performance contract approach that we have taken in this legislation. If we get to a stage where, because of a breakdown in the relationship between two people, we cannot actually achieve what we, this whole Assembly, should be attempting to achieve for the people of Canberra, I believe we have to do something about it. That is what this amendment was to achieve. If you ended up with a situation where two people simply could not work together, where the relationship had broken down beyond help, then there needed to be a way out in that circumstance. This is not a Sunday school picnic here; this is a multimillion dollar operation. We have responsibilities to the people of Canberra to manage their money and their services appropriately, and we believe that is just part of this management.

MR CONNOLLY (11.57): Mr Speaker, Mrs Carnell has just sunk her own case in the only attempt to justify incompatibility. As opposed to Mr Humphries's diatribe, in which he accused the first Follett Government of sacking a public servant who was never appointed and was never sacked, Mrs Carnell seeks at least to return to the substance of the debate. Mr Speaker, we obviously are not convinced about this proposal to reform the public service. We opposed it in principle, and the Leader of the Opposition put forward some very substantial amendments which would have altered the whole thrust of the debate. They have been voted against by the house; so we are now in a context where people are accepting, or where this house has accepted, the premise of Mrs Carnell's reforms, which are, on her views, about a system which is being changed to make it more accountable, and more accountable against objective criteria.

We have heard lots about the need to have performance-based contracts. The principal difference that Mrs Carnell would strike between the availability of contract employment under the pre-existing Act and the new regime is that the new regime is based on performance contracts. The essence of performance contracts, which this house has voted in favour of, is that they are objective; that you can objectively measure whether a person performs or does not perform.

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