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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 261 ..

Suspension of Standing and Temporary Orders

Motion (by Mr Humphries) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent the order of the day No. 2, private Members' business, relating to the Territory Owned Corporations (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1998, being called on forthwith.


Debate resumed from 25 November 1998, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (5.17): The Government has thought long and hard about this piece of legislation. As determined after consultation with, I think, most of the relevant stakeholders, we will be opposing this legislation. This Bill formalises arrangements whereby shareholders of Territory owned corporations must, in most cases, consult with the Assembly committee responsible for the scrutiny of public accounts before appointing members to a board of any Territory owned corporation. This is a process that is used for statutory authorities and for other appointments that the Government makes.

However, there is a marked difference. Directors or members of a board of a Territory owned corporation are important appointments inasmuch as they take on statutory responsibility as company directors under all of the appropriate pieces of legislation, both the TOC Act and relevant Federal legislation. They have total responsibility to the company and to the shareholders, not directly to this Assembly, the shareholders being the people of Canberra.

Mr Speaker, I have spoken to a number of current directors or current members of boards of Territory owned corporations and to a number of people who are involved in corporate boards generally. They have indicated to me that if Mr Quinlan's Bill is enacted today it is likely to lead to something that I am sure nobody in this Assembly would want, and that is that high-quality candidates may not be willing to put forward their names for boards because of potential damage to their professional reputations if appointments become political.

Mr Corbell: Nonsense!

MS CARNELL: It is interesting that Mr Corbell makes that comment. Those are not my comments. Those are the comments of the people who do this, in many cases professionally. High-quality company directors or members of boards are essential to the appropriate running of all our Territory owned corporations. These are multimillion dollar companies that these people have a responsibility to run in the best interests of the companies and the shareholders. It is easy for me, if not Mr Corbell, to understand what

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