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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1790 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

We are not doing so because we want to be secretive and we are not doing it because we have some particular deal with the university or whatever; we just want to get the legislation right. The university, being administered in an entirely different way from the ACT government, is going to have varying ways of presenting its contracts and maybe a varying regime for what is confidential and what is not and how that operates. To try to cut this out of this bill at this stage would just be bad legislation. Let's leave it in and leave the question to be resolved. I am happy to resolve it. If it turns out that the university ought to be embraced by this legislation, bring forward an amending bill to fix that, but do not leave a vexed question in the law. Leave the vexed question out of the law and let's do all of the good things that are incorporated in this bill now.

Amendment negatived.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Remainder of bill, by leave, taken as a whole and agreed to.

Bill agreed to.

Financial Management Amendment Bill 2003

Debate resumed.

MR STEFANIAK (8.46): Mr Speaker, the amendments proposed in this bill are relatively minor and can be characterised as finessing the Financial Management Act, but they can also be characterised as a general slide into the mire of more complicated rules and regulations. They are typical of the bureaucratic drift evident under this government. Hence, we are seeing the Financial Management Act and other legislation becoming more prescriptive, more detailed and more complex.

Instead of actually removing legislation and freeing up the system to allow managers to exercise their creative skills in doing a better job for the government, Labor seems intent on imposing tighter controls and greater compliance burdens on those charged with making things work. That is what Labor governments tend to do. They are compelled by their ideology to try to control everything.

Why do normal administrative functions have to be so tightly specified? Is it because the government does not trust its officials? Is the government afraid that one of its officials might make a mistake? Why else does the government feel the need to spell out in detail what the rest of us would regard as normal administrative procedure and business practice?

For example, there are insertions-proposed sections 32 (1) (a) and 56 (1) (a)-mandating that investments of public money can only be made to increase or protect the financial wealth of the territory. Fancy that! Does the government seriously expect its officials to make investments with the intention of doing anything else? Does the government really regard its investment managers as being so incompetent and so foolish that it has to instruct them via legislation only to make investments which have a positive rate of return? What else does it expect them to do?

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