Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2401 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
reporting date of June 2000. One has to wonder about this Government's approach to policy-making because, as I have said, Quamby is already undergoing major change which is very much needed. As the Official Visitor commented:
How can stability and positive outcomes be achieved if the Centre which is just starting to recover its morale is in a constant state of flux.
The decision to move Quamby was not informed by consultation with the key stakeholders, let alone members of the Assembly, and it is important to recognise the impact of constant change on workers and institutions. We want to see this institution improve its performance urgently. It is poor management style to say that we can just move back in eight or nine months as if it can be done willy-nilly and not have an impact on the workplace culture. It may be that it is the right thing to do to move juvenile justice into adult corrections, but we need to have an opportunity to look at those issues with the community.
Some people in the community feel that this is just about the Government's agenda to privatise corrections, with the new prison being built. We need to have an opportunity to discuss that possibility and hear the Government's response to that suggestion. The process has shown a disregard and disrespect for those people who are working in the area and I urge members of the Assembly - I am sorry Mr Osborne has not been listening, but he said he would be listening - to support this motion.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister)(3.41): The Government will oppose this motion, for some very important reasons. Mr Stanhope, if he does ever plan to be Chief Minister of the Territory, should listen to those reasons. The motion fundamentally ignores the basic responsibilities of the Chief Minister and the obligations of the Executive under the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government Act) 1988. It is that simple. The Act provides the Chief Minister with the authority to appoint Ministers and to assign portfolio responsibilities to the Ministers. The Act does not give the Assembly the right to do that, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker; it gives the Chief Minister the right to do that. Quite simply, that is what the Act says. That is the law. The Government has exercised its legitimate authority. Any challenge to that authority must be of concern to any future government in this place.
Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, much has been said in this place about making sure that we follow the letter of the law. In fact, those opposite have made lots of comments about this statement recently, particularly about administrative law. I come back to the ACT (Self-Government) Act 1988, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. The Act clearly provides that the Chief Minister does have the authority to appoint Ministers and to assign portfolio responsibilities to those Ministers.
Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, in making those decisions, any Chief Minister would look at a number of issues. In this circumstance, I looked at the coroner's report brought down recently. Of course, the Assembly has just had the Government's response to that. The coroner recommended that only one government division should take responsibility for Corrective Services in the Territory. The coroner also indicated that further consideration of this recommendation might usefully be part of an Assembly inquiry.