Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2862 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
The argument that was put to me is that the advantage of having the ground of incompatibility is that it means that the person who loses their position is not questioned in terms of their competence. It is a question of saying this was just an incompatibility, not a question of the person's competence. Therefore, even though they are not working for the Minister any more, their chances of getting a further job would be increased. Without this amendment moved by Ms Follett, effectively, somebody would create a situation where somebody is made to look incompetent so that they can then be removed.
Mr Speaker, having listened to the arguments, I find the Government's arguments unconvincing. I believe it is appropriate that the ground of incompatibility not be included in this legislation. In other words, I support the amendment that has been put forward by Ms Follett. I presume it will be followed by her amendment No. 4, which is a similar amendment to the legislation.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (12.04): I realise, Mr Speaker, that the legislation will be amended in this way, but I would pose one question. It is true that in a circumstance where someone can be taken back to the Commonwealth the problem is not so severe, but what happens when there is incompatibility of the kind that a government just cannot live with, be it a Labor government or a Liberal government? What do they do? Do they find a special job for this person somewhere else and send them away? I think we are turning a blind eye to the reality of the situation. I simply say that governments will have to find ways of dealing with the situation. They always have. This will be done behind closed doors and will be less than open because of not having this kind of capacity within the legislation. So be it. It will still happen. It will just happen in a way which is less open to the public.
MR WHITECROSS (12.05): Mr Speaker, Mr Humphries's little speech just then ought to be a cause of some alarm to members and the community. What Mrs Carnell was describing is an outcomes oriented, performance-based contract system. Mr Humphries is saying he will find a way of subverting it to get rid of someone he thinks is incompatible with him. Never mind whether they are performing, never mind whether they are meeting the outcomes; Mr Humphries is saying, "If we do not like them, if they are incompatible, I will find a way of getting rid of them anyway". That is something that we should be very concerned about because Mr Humphries is saying that he is going to subvert the whole purpose that this is covering.
That is not surprising, coming from Mr Humphries, Mr Speaker, because the whole ground of incompatibility is the move-on power of the Public Sector Management Act. Mr Speaker, before they have failed to do their job, before they have actually committed a crime - to use the parallel of the move-on power - Mr Humphries will come in and say, "Look at this person. He is actually performing his job, but I suspect that he is not going to perform his job due to an incompatibility, and therefore I am going to sack him". In the same way as Mr Humphries, in his past life, felt it appropriate that you should be able to harass people who were not doing anything wrong because you thought that maybe they would, he is now arguing that someone who is performing their job, who has signed an outcomes oriented performance contract of the kind described by Mrs Carnell - - -