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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3598 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

in the Assembly should be concerning themselves about. To do so is to blur the line between the executive and the parliament. I do not think we should be moving down that path.

There will be opportunities for changes in the public service. I think we have sent the message to the ACT public service that a Labor government will have an entirely different approach. We will expect a different style of public service from the one which has been developed over the seven years of this government, which sees the public service as a political arm of itself.

There are concerns amongst public servants about this approach. Many of them labour under their daily duties with the burden of that concern on their shoulders. Many look forward to the day when there will be a change in attitude so that the public service can go back to the days when it could offer fearless and independent advice to the government on a range of matters and the government would make up its mind whether it took that advice or not. That has not been the case under this government, I fear. I think that has been shown up in examination of some of the fiascos and tragedies that this government has been involved in.

There is a need for change. That change will come with a change in the philosophy of the government. This government's philosophy has permeated some levels of its public service, certainly some of the senior levels from time to time. People have moved on. I do not want to brand any particular public servant with that label, but I think it is fair to say that the inquiries and reports that have emerged from the management difficulties that this government has had have shown that up.

Labor will not be supporting Mr Osborne's bill. We will guarantee that a Labor administration will produce the sort of public service that public servants will be proud to serve in, one that serves the community as an arm of government, if you like, but certainly not one forced to inherit the philosophy of the government. I think the point has been made over and over again that we have to maintain separation between the executive and the parliament. Mr Osborne's bill fundamentally breaches that separation, and if for no other reason it should be opposed.

Mr Osborne: Support the amendments. They fix it.

MR BERRY: Mr Osborne says, "Support the amendments." But there still remains that fundamental breach of the divide in your legislation, Mr Osborne. I will finish with the point that I touched on earlier. This is your government, and you could have changed it. It is a bit late to be saying it is the public servants' fault. This is not the public servants' fault. It is the philosophy of the government that is the problem.

MS TUCKER (12.05): I am a bit disappointed in Labor's response to Mr Osborne's bill. It is all very well to play the political game and say that it is Mr Osborne's government. Mr Osborne said that he voted for me for Chief Minister, so there you go. This is a really important step by Mr Osborne to deal with issues that all of us, apart from the Liberals, have expressed concerns about over the last three years.

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