Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991

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Parliamentary Record 3


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 1 May 1991 as if it were some form of economic rationalism. If he wants to know what economic rationalism is about, it is not about cutting services. Mr Setter: Of course it is about rationalism. Mr EDE: I will take that on board, Mr Speaker, because it shows a total and profound ignorance that is beautiful only in its entirety and purity, totally unbesmirched by any degree of knowledge. The fact is that it is about more efficient delivery of services. If any members on that side of the House had managed to get that through their heads at the time of the 1987 cuts and had applied the principles, we would not be in this situation today, totally irrespective of the federal cuts. All they had to do was to make a 3% per year improvement in efficiency. If they had done that, the total accumulated amount would have now been $378m - well above the total amount of cuts by the federal government. On the other hand, if they wish to look only at the degree of the cuts that we have had now, what would have been required? All that would have been required was 1% of efficiency from 6 years ago to date to be able to negate these total claims. None of this was necessary, because if we are looking at 3% ... Members interjecting. Mr EDE: Put the 3% aside. I accept that that might be totally beyond your capabilities. Is 1% per annum beyond your capability? If that is not beyond his capabilities, that may be something that he can aim for in the next few years. If you are looking at 1%, it is not necessary to cut services by 1% because it can be found in terms of more efficient service delivery, without the cutting of services. That is what economic rationalism is about, and it is something that has not got through to members opposite, who believe that it is a simple matter of letting the problem build up and then putting it away when there are some problems with the electorate. When an election is due, they decide not to do anything about the problem until the election is over. They work on the basis that, if they are returned in the election, they will race back in here and cut services to blazes and hope that people will have forgotten about it in 3 years time. They do not have a hope. The fourth paragraph of the censure motion requires the Assembly to censure the minister for 'retaining a bloated administration while diminishing the number of face-to-face teachers'. Mr Speaker, that is the item that I want particularly to talk about. The amendment attempts to say that the minister has made the highest proportion of reductions outside the school fence, and I reject that. I believe the point that we made correctly describes the situation. Look at the top level, Mr Speaker. It is incredible. When I saw it first, it struck me that I had seen something like it before somewhere. I went back to my old textbooks of business administration, and found something very similar. There it was. IBM has a very similar structure. There is some difference 1n the scale of the operations further down the line and a difference in the scale of the product that is being produced, but very little difference at the top. It is a structure of about the same size: 1 departmental secretary, 3 deputy secretaries, 3 assistant secretaries, 10 secretaries, 7 functional superintendents, 10 regional superintendents, and so on. I do not deny that some cuts have been made in corporate services. However, these are largely from junior level administration and from the 819