Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1148 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
(c) within the previous year and before the day fixed for the purposes of subsection 2(2) of the Public Sector Management (Amendment) Act 1995 been retired as an officer under section 128 or 137.
So I thought, "This will be interesting; I will duck over to section 128 and section 137", and, do you know, they are not there. They are gone. They were repealed some time earlier. If you look at the Public Sector Management Act, on page 77 the last clause mentioned is clause 121, and the next clause mentioned over the page is clause 139. There is this great big gap in the legislation which apparently resulted from a repeal some time ago. In the reprint of the legislation it has not been sorted out.
I am not sure of what the reference to those sections means in relation to section 114 because I really have not had time to address the issue, but I think that needs to be tidied up. Maybe it does not need to be tidied up at this moment, but it certainly needs to be tidied up. There is something wrong with it. It points to the haste with which this thing has been brought into the Assembly.
I will take a bit of convincing that the next matter I want to talk about should be supported. This is in relation to management standards. The approval of management standards by a disallowable instrument now can only be conducted by the Chief Minister. The intention of this amendment is to switch that responsibility to the Public Service Commissioner within boundaries set by the Chief Minister. So, what is potentially a political decision is switched to the Public Service Commissioner within boundaries set by the Chief Minister, and they have to be approved by the Chief Minister. The boundaries, incidentally, are not disallowable instruments; only the decision of the Public Service Commissioner.
What this has the effect of doing is switching, if you like, the limelight off the decision-maker onto the Public Service Commissioner when it comes to the disallowance, if it were the choice of the Assembly, of that instrument here in the Assembly. The case has not been made out for this. When I was briefed in relation to this matter I was given the impression that this is rarely used. This is not an onerous task that the Chief Minister has to perform. It rarely happens. Once you become familiar with the way the Government operates you often resort to those elements of a suspicious nature that you might not otherwise resort to. I am a little bit suspicious of this, and the case has not been made out for why this should be supported. So, Mr Speaker, I do not believe that should be supported. I am yet to be convinced that it should be.
Mr Speaker, the other amendments proposed by the Government are not matters which I need to comment on because I think they could be quite satisfactory, but I go back to my original point. The union which represents public servants was not consulted about this and they have a particular interest in it. They have not even been sent a copy of it by the Government. I sent them a copy but the Government has not even bothered to send them a copy. These are the representatives of their employees.
I have not had time to have a formal discussion but I have had a couple of telephone discussions with union officers in relation to the matter just to get a bit of a feel for what the Government was up to in relation to these amendments. On the face of it there are some matters in here which Labor would be happy to support in the detail stage,