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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3825 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Canberra Times of 1 December have been receiving the allowance for in excess of three years. Will the Chief Minister explain to the Assembly what were the special circumstances - the special circumstances - approved by her Government that allow for these executives to receive the TAA beyond the three years?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think that that is actually a second question, but I am happy to answer it. I am very happy to answer it because it shows again a fundamental misunderstanding of the public sector and the Act that was passed in this place. I think that Mr Stanhope should be really embarrassed. Maybe we should get a full briefing for him on how the Public Service works.

Mr Stanhope: I think that might be a good idea. Tell the Auditor-General.

MR SPEAKER: Order, please! You asked a pertinent question. The Chief Minister is prepared to answer it. Please allow her to do so.

MS CARNELL: Mr Stanhope asked about the special circumstances of the approval by my Government. If he knows anything, he would know that issues like this are handled by the Public Service commissioner and come nowhere near the Government; they come nowhere near the Government.

Mr Corbell: Why did you extend it for three years?

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Corbell! You did not ask the question.

MS CARNELL: Mr Corbell asks why we extended it. The fact is that we did not extend it, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kaine: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Is the Chief Minister bagging her public servants and saying that they are responsible?

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order, Mr Kaine.

MS CARNELL: For the information of members, I will table a document that Mr Gilmour sent to me this morning with regard to this issue where he makes it quite clear that he could not identify any decision along these lines where a ministerial or government agreement had actually been sought, nor would it be. I table the document for the information of members. We have a Public Service commissioner to make a whole lot of decisions under the Act at arms length from government. That is what we have one for. If members do not believe that we should have a commissioner that is at arms length from the Public Service and from the Executive, they should change the legislation. Unfortunately, the legislation that we are talking about is their legislation. It is not ours at all. The legislation that sets up this system was put in place in 1994 by the previous Labor Government under Rosemary Follett and Wayne Berry.

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