Page 3481 - Week 11 - Thursday, 19 September 2013

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around this matter once it became clear to me—and let us just remember that this is not a matter that is just restricted to the contracts that you have nominated as part of your question; it actually relates back to the late 1990s in relation to some of the contracts that we have had to clean up, and we are going back into the audit of that process—

Members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: I am just saying that it pre-dates this government—some of the issues. I became aware of this issue, Mr Hanson, as I have said in this chamber, I think, in a response to a question you asked about a particular employment contract. In following up the advice I got back about that individual matter, I asked further questions around whether there were other contracts that had not been tabled, and the advice came back. So I did my job, sought more information. That advice came back. I then sought legal advice around the nature of any concerns with valid employment relationships, and that advice has come back saying that the employment relationship is still valid despite the failure of meeting a particular accountability arrangement in legislation. I have no reason—there is no evidence before me—to suggest that the employment relationships as arranged through the ACT public service, and that includes through the performance of duties, duties being performed, is invalid because these contracts were not tabled in the Assembly within the appropriate timetable.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Thanks, Chief Minister. Can you outline the process for the Assembly whereby someone starts being paid, a director-general, if their contract has not been signed?

MS GALLAGHER: They are paid because they are performing the duties of the director-general for which they have been engaged. The problem seems to have arisen that the contracts were signed once a performance agreement was put in place. At times the performance agreements have not been put in place in a prompt way.

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: There has been failure. I am not standing here saying there has not been failure to follow proper procedures, Mr Hanson. To the contrary: I am very disappointed with the way the public service has failed in this very important accountability measure. But the issue which you are trying to raise concern over is whether people have been paid for work that they have performed and whether there is some invalid arrangement in place around their employment relationship.

All the advice to me is that the contract in itself does not constitute the employment relationship. There are other ways that that relationship is formed. The performance of duties—turning up to work, doing the work, performing the duties of director-general—constitutes a valid employment arrangement.

Mr Hanson: You just turn up.

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