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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 526 ..



corporations and to make them more accountable to the community at large. This is obviously a concept totally foreign to the Chief Minister. Industrial democracy is often talked about as a way of minimising industrial disputes and increasing productivity; but, unfortunately, it is too little practised by corporations in this country.

Unfortunately, my Bill was not debated during the last Assembly, and it lapsed. I requested the Parliamentary Counsel to update the Bill for re-presentation in this Assembly; but, for various reasons, this has been a slow process and Mr Quinlan has beaten me to it. Let me foreshadow, however, that I believe that these complications have been overcome and that I will be tabling my revised Bill in the next sitting week. I do not think that my Bill is in conflict with what Mr Quinlan is proposing here. In fact, it could be quite complementary.

In terms of the detail of Mr Quinlan's Bill, the requirement in the Bill for the Government to consult with an Assembly committee on the appointment of board members is consistent with the approach taken by the Government on the appointment of a range of statutory positions. This Bill acknowledges the value of the Assembly's committee system in providing input to government decision-making and in promoting government accountability - although, obviously, after listening to Mrs Carnell now, we realise that we are not allowed to challenge or question in any way. It was okay as long as we rubber-stamped it. However, by not binding the Government to the committee's recommendations, the Bill still recognises that the Government, as the corporation's shareholders, is entitled to have the final say over appointments. This Bill is a quite reasonable attempt to improve government accountability in its control of Territory owned corporations, and I am happy to support it.

Mrs Carnell was very clear in her statements that the letter was totally Ms Tucker's letter. I do not know how Mrs Carnell chaired committees when she was not in the Government; but I actually work with the committee, and this was a letter from the whole committee, including the Liberal member, Mr Hird. We did ask for further information. That seems perfectly reasonable. What is the point of referring appointments to a committee if we are not allowed to ask any questions?

Apparently, Mrs Carnell would have been satisfied if we had said that we do not like or we do not accept a person, Mr Speaker. But we chose not to do that. What we chose to do instead was to actually look at who else was on offer and what processes are used by the Government. Mrs Carnell seems to think that that would mean the Canberra Times. If that is the only link she and her Government have with the community, that is a statement in itself.

Mrs Carnell also seems to think that it is not our role. My understanding of that legislation from Mr Moore originally was that it did actually bring some more accountability into the whole process and that it did allow Assembly committees to actually make comment. I know that this does not happen very often. I can remember once or twice that we might have written with some concern about particular people appearing very often on numerous boards or committees. I can recall sending one letter to that effect. We were concerned about the workload, particularly for those people, or the reasons why there was not more diversity in representation. So, we have actually

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