Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 528 ..



decried in this place may well occur. In fact, the probability that that event could occur is more likely under the Chief Minister's proposed amendment than it is under the Bill as it will be in action.

In her earlier speech, the Chief Minister referred to subsidiary boards and how complicated all this can become. I actually think that it denigrates the Assembly as a whole to suggest that it could not handle this process sensitively. Successive governments have been appointing people to boards. Those appointments have been referred to committees. I see nothing of this vilification of people who might be appointed to government positions because their nomination is reviewed by a committee. Mr Speaker, I ask: What is to stop any member in this place rising and challenging, in whatever manner you would permit within this place, the appointment, the qualifications and the suitability of any government appointment to a board or a corporation?

In fact, what we have heard from the Chief Minister so far today is just so much nonsense. The point of this legislation is to ensure that the members of this legislature, which is governed by a minority government, are not totally disenfranchised. We have witnessed in recent times an increase in the number of government owned corporations, with Ministers as shareholders and a board of management effectively appointed by a Minister or two. We have also witnessed the Chief Minister, amongst others, on more than one occasion responding to questions or challenges that we have put relating to TOCs by shrugging off the question and telling us, "Well, that is a matter for the board". This happened as recently as after the debate on ACTEW, a multimillion-dollar organisation. The response to a question or so was to shrug it off and say, "Well, the board will have to sort that out". I do not really think that that is a satisfactory response.

We do believe that boards run corporations. All that this legislation wants to do is allow the prospective appointees to be reviewed by a committee in a committee session, as is done for most of the boards that are appointed by government. The situation is certainly not unique. You will understand that, these days, many members of this Assembly are quite nervous regarding the operation of our businesses. Our businesses seem to be disappearing. After all, it was the board of ACTEW that initiated the sale debate, apparently.

We had a crazy situation this year - it did not involve a TOC, but the principle would still come through - where we had a Summer Festival of Sport. It was transferred from one area, Sport and Recreation, somehow to under the umbrella of CTEC, and then CTEC defunded it. So, we came in here and asked, "What have you done to the Summer Festival of Sport?". We were told, "That was decided by CTEC. They are a board. That is their job". So, all of a sudden, we have this abrogation by the use of these particular agencies.

We have a committee system in this place that was formulated, after much debate, at the beginning of this Assembly. It is not exactly the one we prefer. Nevertheless, it is one that we are committed to making work. This is simply part of allowing that committee structure, including the committee that I chair, to perform its function of review. Might I add that the Bill that I have put forward also enhances the original Bill by allowing for

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .