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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 527 ..



asked questions before this, which maybe Mrs Carnell would also think was totally inappropriate. But, as I said, what is the point of anything going to a committee, if this is an accountability measure, if we are not allowed to ask for more information?

I am very interested that Mrs Carnell thinks it is "dangerous" - to quote her - that we have an input into these discussions. It actually makes me believe even more firmly that, in fact, this piece of legislation that Mr Quinlan has presented today is very important, because the Labor Party at least is acknowledging that we need to have diverse views on these sorts of boards and we do not necessarily just want the business heads. The community is getting concerned about that.

It is not true to say that you will always have a fight if you have people representing different perspectives in the community. That is entirely up to the group concerned. We have seen groups where that has not happened. In fact, interestingly enough, the Competition Policy Forum was made up of a quite diverse range of people. I believe that they worked very well together on the whole, even though they came from very different positions. If we do not move into a position of maturity as individuals working in these groups, representing different people, we will not see decisions made which do represent a broad view. I think it is pretty clear, from much of the polling that is occurring around Australia now, that people are not in any way convinced that the narrow economic view is the only one that needs to be represented in discussions.

MR QUINLAN (3.48), in reply: First, Mr Speaker, I cannot find in this small amendment Bill any provisions for requesting a list of nominations, the names of other people considered or the process. Might I also say that I was approached, or lobbied, by three highly qualified people who contribute a considerable amount to this town in terms of the operation of government business. I have to say also that I was contacted by all of them in the space of about 15 minutes. We will put that down to coincidence, I presume. At least one of them was reassured, let me say, when I informed him that this was a regular process that occurred in this place for a plethora of boards, et cetera, and that we had not really had anybody particularly vilified in this Assembly in a public way.

A real difference this Bill makes is that, when that happy day comes and we are in government, this review process will exist. This will be one of those parameters that are in our minds when we actually make appointments. As the Chief Minister knows, I, as chairman of her portfolio committee, wrote quite a long time ago expressing some concern and the concern of that committee that we seem to have a panel of a very few people performing quite a number of tasks and that we do not seem to cast the net very wide. Occasionally, I am let out amongst business people, and I ask them whether they have ever been approached to be on statutory bodies or Territory owned corporations, and they have not.

We have had circulated in this place an amendment proposed by the Chief Minister that what we do is just advise this Assembly. I believe that there is cockeyed logic in presenting that amendment, because, if people in this Assembly genuinely object to the appointment of a given person and the first time we hear about it is when we are advised per medium of this Assembly, and if we still feel moved to object to that appointment, then the situation you have painted of some particular nominee or appointment being

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