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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2871 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

It is very interesting. Members of this place have to make a statement about their interests. That is not tabled in the house and published. It is properly held to have some degree of confidentiality. People who, in the public interest, need access to it can get it. I do not believe that that statement that we make, and which you, Mr Speaker, hold in a certain confidential way and people have a look at only when they have good reason to, is in any way different from the nature of a contract between a senior employee of the public service and the Government. It is no different whatsoever. I can conceive of the Chief Minister setting up an arrangement similar to that which applies to the statements of interest that we submit to you, Mr Speaker. That would give adequate access to those who need it and would not impose an undue obligation on either the Government or the individual concerned. Mr Speaker, I said that I had some sympathy, in principle, with the notion that there should not be undue confidentiality imposed on contracts of this kind. I still believe that; but, I repeat, this is overkill and I do not support it.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (12.33): I think that one of the most telling things that have been said in this debate was said by Ms Tucker when she suggested that senior executives and agency heads were responsible to this Assembly. That is simply not right. The Government is responsible to the Assembly. We are accountable to the Assembly and to the people of Canberra. We must not end up with a situation where senior managers are responsible to this Assembly for their performance, rather than to their Minister.

The last amendment that we supported being passed was about exactly that - that Ministers are responsible. They must be, under our form of government. By passing this amendment we would end up with senior managers, SES officers and agency heads being responsible and being accountable directly to this Assembly, which is totally contrary to our current form of government. It is the Minister who is responsible if things do not go right, or if the Assembly is unhappy with the Minister's performance or the outcomes that are being achieved, not the senior manager.

It is the performance part of the contracts that is the concern, not the financial part, because the financial part will be determined by the Remuneration Tribunal, as always. The determinations of the Remuneration Tribunal will be public. It is the performance-based part that is of concern to me. We do not want a situation where a Minister and an agency head, or an agency head and their senior managers, have a set of performance-based criteria which says, "We will achieve this by this date, and this by this date, and this by this date", and then have that used politically in this place. People have the performance contracts and are told, "Well, you managed this one, this one and this one, but you did not manage this one. The Minister is responsible for that". The fact that you might have - - -

Mr Connolly: That is what happens at the Estimates Committee every year, Kate, in every program.

MRS CARNELL: Who is the primary witness at the Estimates Committee? The Minister. It is the Minister who is the - - -

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