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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2931 ..

Mrs Carnell: I said that we do not mind the financial aspects being public, but not the performance stuff.

MR CONNOLLY: There is a problem unless the whole thing is on the table. Stories about $100,000 housing assistance packages are doing the rounds. We all know how Canberra works. We all know that $20 can be transferred into $200,000 by the time a story has been retold several times. Secrecy is the environment in which these sorts of things fester.

Mrs Carnell: We have not passed it yet.

MR CONNOLLY: That is the point, Mrs Carnell. In anticipation of these secret packages, all sorts of rumours flourish, and that is very damaging to the confidence of the public in the administration of this town. The only way to resolve that is to ensure that all this material is made public. Mrs Carnell interjected and said, "We do not mind the financial aspects being made public". In that case the only issue here is the performance criteria, and how can that possibly be a state secret when it is the very basis of accountability?

Mrs Carnell: That is exactly what I spoke about before.

MR CONNOLLY: You have said, and the Assembly has accepted, that this is a reform package based on objective accountability. The Assembly has clearly accepted that because it has knocked back your subjective element, your ability to sack for incompatibility, and has supported the Leader of the Opposition's amendment, which limits this whole thing to objective accountability. Now you are seeking to maintain secrecy on that provision.

I say to Independent members that in supporting secrecy they could potentially create an environment where an awful lot of damage is done as all these stories circulate. We are not suggesting that there is anything to hide and I cannot possibly imagine why performance criteria could be sinister or secret. One can almost imagine what they will be, and they probably will be quite sensible. Why are you trying to hide something when there is absolutely no reason to hide it?

MR OSBORNE (5.52): I rise to support Ms Tucker's amendment. You will be pleased to know, Mr Speaker, that I have managed finally, after being in this place for nine months, to talk some sense into Mr Moore, and I believe that he is going to support the amendment as well. As I have stated a number of times in this Assembly, I believe in the principle of contracts. I think that public servants who are paid that amount of money should be made accountable. However, there were a couple of issues that were of concern to me, and this is one of them. I think that we need to be made aware of their contracts. I was speaking to someone from the Government during the lunchbreak. They said to me that if this amendment went through they would have trouble attracting people for the jobs. I said, "Well, I am happy to apply, for that sort of money". If they have a problem getting people for the jobs, I will take a five-year deal; I will be happy to.

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