Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 265 ..
MR CORBELL (5.34): According to the Chief Minister, a number of board members of Territory owned corporations are concerned about Mr Quinlan's proposal. I can understand that they would be concerned. If it were put to me that the Assembly was going to scrutinise or oversight appointments to boards, my immediate reaction would be to say, "Hang on a minute. I am not very comfortable about that". But it is not just about that immediate reaction. It is also about whether we have a process which is open and transparent. That is why I rise today to support my colleague Mr Quinlan in the Bill he is presenting to this Assembly.
I would like to quote something from the Hansard of a few years ago. In 1994 a member of this place stood up and talked about the need for some transparency in relation to other appointments. The member said:
I think that the whole issue can be summed up by saying that this is a Bill about merit rather than mateship.
The member who said that was Mr Moore. He said that in his tabling speech when he introduced the Statutory Appointments Bill 1994.
Mr Humphries: Which you opposed.
MR CORBELL: I will get to that, Mr Humphries. The Statutory Appointments Bill 1994 dealt with the scrutiny of appointments to various government boards, committees and panels around the place and with a number of statutory appointments. The Bill was subsequently amended and a number of provisions were taken out. In the in-principle debate, the Labor Party opposed that Bill. It is on the record; it is quite clear. Mr Speaker, I think what we have seen during the operation of that Bill over the past 41/2 years is that it is not a system that has been abused by this Assembly. It is not a process which has been used to headhunt or conduct some sort of witch-hunt for people whom one side or other of this chamber may perceive as political opponents who need to be got at before they are appointed. The Labor Party has taken a very clear position in saying that this process works well, that we are convinced and that our opposition then was wrong. We have been proven wrong. I am sure that all members in this place, when they sit on committees, see the references and referees' reports of people the Government is proposing to appoint to boards. I know that all members deal with those in a very sensible way, without hysteria and without some attempt to politicise the process.
The Chief Minister, in her speech, talked about politicisation. A member who spoke in this place in the 1994 debate talked about politicisation also. That member said:
I think it is a gross exaggeration to suggest that members in opposition, whether Labor or Liberal, are going to behave like packs of wild animals, hunting down government appointments, and that in government they are going to dramatically change their point of view. I believe that all members will see the value of having an orderly process ...