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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3020 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

That was established for Commonwealth purposes. We are no longer subservient to the Commonwealth. We have our own ACT public service. We, as members of this Assembly, are totally independent of the Commonwealth. Why would we rely on this sort of continuing paternal oversighting by the Commonwealth of what we do? I do not agree that the fact that the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal exists is any argument at all in this matter.

Secondly, if you read on, Ms Tucker is discounting the existence of a remuneration tribunal, Commonwealth or otherwise. If it is her proposition that we should continue to rely on the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal, then we have to rely on their processes. Their processes do not do what she is proposing in subparagraph (b). I think that she is totally confused about the nature of the Remuneration Tribunal's processes, what they do and how they do it. The Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal is certainly not going to do what she is asking in subparagraph (b) - that is, to look at the possible mechanisms to link the salaries and conditions of public office-holders and contract employees to the salaries and conditions of permanent ACT public sector employees. The reason they do not do that is that their task and the task of any remuneration tribunal, local or Commonwealth, is to look at work value and to make a determination about the value of what people do and, consequential upon that, to make a determination about what is a reasonable remuneration for performing those tasks.

To say that we should link, for example, backbenchers' salaries in this place with those of some public servant, Commonwealth or otherwise, is totally to ignore the difference in what we do. I do not consider that what I do has any relationship to the work done by a public servant of the Commonwealth at any level or a public servant in the ACT public service at any level. What I do is totally different. I work in a totally different environment, and the framework of what I do is totally different. It is a nonsense to suggest that you can link my job with some public servant's job and say that I should be paid the same as they are. The level of responsibility is different. No public servant fronts up to an election every three years to see whether they need to continue their job, for example. They are totally different. As I said before, I suspect that either Ms Tucker is uninformed about the way things are done or, if she is informed, she has misunderstood the way things work.

To come to the point of this motion, it is that the Standing Committee on Public Accounts look at these two Bills. I remind Ms Tucker that the Public Accounts Committee already has looked at them. If you read our report on the Public Sector Management (Amendment) Bill, you will find that there is reference to it there. What on earth can the Public Accounts Committee do by looking at the Bills again? It would be a waste of time. The Public Accounts Committee will contribute nothing at the end of the day.

Finally, Mr Speaker, the Assembly this week passed the Public Sector Management (Amendment) Bill. The establishment of a remuneration tribunal is integral to the implementation of the Public Sector Management Act. One relies on the other. To say that we have given the Chief Minister permission to get on with the business of restructuring the public service in the fashion that she has proposed and at the same time to say that we will not set up a remuneration tribunal that is concomitant with it and allows the Chief Minister, through proper authority, to establish remuneration levels that are appropriate to the jobs that will be created is a nonsense.

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