Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3714 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

We need to ask ourselves what sort of people we should have there, and we need to ask ourselves about accountability. When something goes wrong or when there is an issue, we expect the TOCs to answer to the government and we expect the government of the day to fix the problem. But it is very difficult to do that if the board of the TOC concerned was, effectively, not appointed by the government. Governments do not usually purport to control territory-owned corporations, but they do expect to exercise a fair degree of influence on their direction through the way in which appointments to those boards are conducted.

In a case where that control would effectively be removed, it has to be asked how governments can be held accountable in this place for the things that happen on TOCs. I am not going to be able to get up here and say, "The TOC wasn't appointed by me, so I couldn't control what it was doing." If something goes wrong, people expect the government to be accountable. In regard to those circumstances, the government ought to appoint the members.

MS TUCKER (10.54), in reply: You run a mile when something goes wrong with one of your TOCs, and you say it is none of your business when we ask you to explain what is going on.

Mr Humphries: We have never said that, Ms Tucker.

MS TUCKER: I am saying that. I want to make a couple of comments. I do not know if Mr Humphries quite understands what we are proposing here; he is suggesting it is that the government does not choose who the people are. What we say in this legislation is that these groups can nominate three people, and that the government, if it chooses not to select one of those three people, does not do so and then explains why in the Assembly. Mr Humphries also said that it is about accountability and that it is not appropriate to have representation of these different interest groups. I think Mr Quinlan was of that view as well.

The accountability the Greens are interested in applies across all the responsibilities of government, not just to the business operations of a TOC. I do not agree that a TOC is a business only. As a territory-owned corporation, its operations must also serve the community interest, and the government of the day has a responsibility to ensure that they do. The very point we are making here today-and that the community is making, if you care to listen-is that the Liberals see government as a business and for that reason community interest is not being served.

Your own Prime Minister, John Howard, because he is feeling pressure from the electorate about this, is now saying, "Maybe we need to reconsider the community benefit of competition policy." The language and essence of the market being used to determine how government does business is so unpopular with the community, even with Liberal voters, that John Howard is now having a rethink on it-or at least pretending to.

To include the Council of Social Service, the conservation council and the Trades and Labour Council is to reflect a commitment to what the United Nations have listed as social rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. One of those social rights is the right to form a trade union. It is a basic right, as it is listed under the United Nations rights. To include the conservation council is about the right to a clean

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .