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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2864 ..

MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, I have already indicated that there was never any imputation that Mr Humphries was harassing anybody.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. That is fine. Continue, Mr Whitecross.

MR WHITECROSS: If he had been listening he would have heard that. Mr Speaker, the point I was making is this: Mr Moore has correctly summed up this situation. Mrs Carnell says that what we are introducing here today, against some severe reservations on the part of the Labor Party, is an outcomes-based performance type of contract; yet we are being told that the argument in favour of an incompatibility clause gets around the need to sack anyone for actually failing in their performance. Instead, you just fall back on the ground of incompatibility because in that way you will not have to besmirch their good character by suggesting they have not been doing their job. This is a total undermining of the whole purpose of the legislation.

The Government is arguing that this is going to produce a new regime where what people are required to do will be clearly set out on a piece of paper and everyone will know where they stand. Let them stand and fall on the basis of those contracts. Let us not get into these other sorts of subjective criteria which are going to be used to get around the plain words of the contract. That is what this is about. If the relationship breaks down and if, as a result of the relationship breaking down, the officer is not performing against the contract, let them take action then. If the relationship is a bit prickly but the officer is doing the job, why should they be subject to a termination of their contract? That is what this is all about. We will be watching with interest Mr Humphries's performance on this, given his avowed intention to find ways of getting around our removal of this ground.

MS TUCKER (12.10): I heard Mr Humphries say earlier that Labor was just espousing noble sentiments, but that they were not worthy of being listened to because of their taking what he perceived to be inappropriate action themselves when they were in government. I listened very carefully to the concerns that Ms Follett raised and I have not heard them really successfully argued from the Government.

It seems to me that there is something very fundamental about the public sector that is being challenged by this particular part of the legislation, because who is going to want to be purchasing bad news? It is quite likely that a person who is under a contract to provide certain outcomes is going to be hesitant about accepting things that will not make their performance look good. If we are going to have contracts down through the service into the Senior Executive Service as well, which it seems we are going to have, and as well as that you have this incompatibility clause, I cannot see that the public can have confidence in the public sector at all. It is already being undermined, in our view, by this increase in contracting out. For that reason, we will very definitely be supporting this amendment by Ms Follett, and I encourage other members to do so.

Amendment agreed to.

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