Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3021 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
I oppose the motion on a number of grounds. If the Assembly were to adopt this, they would be acting most irrationally. I believe that the majority of the members of this place are more rational than that, and I urge them to reject this motion.
MR MOORE (11.25): Mr Speaker, quite clearly, this is a delaying tactic. Mr Kaine has put a very good case as to why these Bills ought not to go to the Public Accounts Committee yet another time. On quite a number of occasions over the last year the Greens have put arguments as to why we should consider something, and the Assembly has been generally quite receptive to the notion of considering things by committee and, when required, taking extra time to consider a piece of legislation. I hope that will continue. In this case we quite clearly have a tactic to delay something that has been part of the consideration of the Public Accounts Committee already. I believe that now it is time to get on with the job and make our decisions about this remuneration tribunal when the Bill comes forward.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (11.26): Mr Speaker, I think this motion is a bit of a nonsense. The whole point of having a remuneration tribunal is for them, at arm's length from this place, to set salaries based upon the job involved and the responsibility and the tasks that go with that job. To assume that this Assembly should somehow override the remuneration tribunal, whether it happens to be Commonwealth or ACT based, is at total odds with what a remuneration tribunal, whether Commonwealth or ACT based, does. As Mr Kaine said, there is a misunderstanding of what a remuneration tribunal does. We would not need a remuneration tribunal at all if we linked senior government salaries to standard ACT public sector salaries. We could get rid of the tribunal. We would not need one, because everyone would be linked to everyone else. The motion is a nonsense. We have to get on with this. We have to have an ACT-based remuneration tribunal because it is part of our whole step to have an ACT-based public service, to stand on our own two feet and to have our own identity.
MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (11.28): Mr Speaker, as the chair of the Public Accounts Committee, I should make some comment on this motion from Ms Tucker. It is difficult to debate this issue without anticipating the debate on the Bills which the Assembly will be considering later. I know that you would have pulled up Mr Kaine and Mrs Carnell if they had gone on for much longer on that tack.
MR SPEAKER: It is a very difficult area. I agree with you, Ms Follett.
MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I think it is an entirely appropriate reference to the Public Accounts Committee. The Public Accounts Committee has the right, indeed the duty, to examine all matters relating to the financial affairs of this Territory and, indeed, to the Public Sector Management Act as well. I think that the remuneration that applies under those provisions, whether it is to us as Assembly members, to the senior bureaucrats - now senior contractors - or to other statutory office-holders in the Territory, is also an entirely appropriate subject for the Public Accounts Committee to consider. Mr Speaker, as the chair, I can say that I would be perfectly willing to take on such a reference. I therefore support the motion.