Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3692 ..
MR BERRY (11.44): There is a real problem in dealing with this sort of legislation at such short notice in the ACT Assembly. It has been drawn to my attention that the areas which gave rise to the amendments before the Assembly were introduced into the Federal Parliament on 30 March 1999, were passed in the House of Representatives on 27 September and were passed in the Senate on 14 October.
I can see why it has become pressing, but it is often quite difficult to deal with these pieces of legislation which do involve some complex research to ensure that the employees which the legislation purports to protect are properly protected. We have put our shoulders to the wheel in respect of this. We support the principles of the legislation because it ensures continuing access to the merit protection review process which applied prior to the amendments moved by the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth have offered us continued access to their services for a further year, and Mrs Carnell drew attention to these technical amendments which ensure that we are able to have that access for our employees. We support the Bill in principle. I have circulated an amendment which we were only able to have drafted at short notice. I think we received it late yesterday, and I have circulated it this morning. I will refer to it again later but, to give people a bit more time to think about it, it reinstates access to the Merit Protection Review Agency for LA(MS) Act employees who missed out in the original legislation.
Ms Carnell: The ones that are in the Public Service. It would be only the ones that were in the Public Service - not the LA(MS) Act generally, just the ones that are in the Public Service.
MR BERRY: It applies to LA(MS) Act employees and gives them access to the Merit Protection Review - - -
Ms Carnell: Only if they are public servants.
MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, the amendments that I have circulated go to that issue. I will talk about them further later if there is any dispute about the matter. However, we support the amendment in principle.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (11.47), in reply: I thank the members of the Assembly for their support for the Public Sector Legislation Amendment Bill 1999. The purpose of this Bill is to provide interim arrangements to continue the current scheme of review and to keep in place the appeal procedures in the ACT Public Service. Legislative change obviously has become necessary following the repeal of the Commonwealth legislation which provided the necessary procedural infrastructure. The repeal will occur from 5 December, so it was necessary for this legislation to be passed through the Assembly fairly quickly. I thank members for that support. Obviously there will be a need at some stage in the future to put in place a permanent arrangement.
Bill agreed to in principle.