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Tuesday, 25 May 1993
Page: 1264

Senator KEMP (11.21 p.m.) —I thank the Minister for that. In the coming months, particularly as the SES officers become entitled to their cash bonuses—these are the glittering prizes; up to $15,000—I suggest it will become a matter of community interest and debate. Certainly, as the results of the first rounds come in, there will be a heightened level of public interest to see just how agencies are adapting to the use of performance based cash bonuses, or pay rises as they are more commonly known.

  I am sorry that the Minister could not give me a clear answer. I understand that he is hedging on this, and I understand the reasons why he is doing that, but I put it to him that commonsense would indicate that, where substantial numbers of officers all receive the same performance based pay rise in the same department, that is going to be seen as really another way to give a wage rise. I think that will lead to further debate and concerns in the Public Service.

  The topic of the next question I would like to put to the Minister was touched on in a number of conversations I have had with public servants. An officer assessed at level 3, for example, gets a cash bonus if he or she is fully effective. Commonsense would indicate that an officer who is fully effective is probably doing his or her job. Senator Burns nods in approval. Therefore, it seems to me an odd thing to be saying to those people, `If you are fully effective you will get a cash bonus for doing your job'.

  Again, I ask the Minister to ask his officers, in their assessment of the first round of the performance pay cash bonuses for the Senior Executive Service, whether this concern has been expressed to them; that is, that it is an odd thing to be giving a person a cash bonus for doing the job which he or she was originally employed to do when he or she appears to be doing it in a fully and effective manner.