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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 1 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 102..

MR MOORE (continuing):

What we had was a situation which was designed specifically to inflame an industrial conflict. As far as I am concerned, the actions that I have taken over the last few days have been specifically designed to do the opposite - to try to ensure that what is likely to become more inflamed because of the Federal election is a situation that should be less inflamed and that we should be able to get to a situation where the Government can sensibly negotiate with unions and provide a fair outcome for all unions.

I began negotiating as far as the teachers union was concerned, because that is the union I know and that is the area I know. I have some understanding of what is likely to be acceptable and what is not likely to be acceptable to teachers, although the reality is that the members themselves are going to have to either accept or reject that Government offer as a whole or in part and wear the consequences themselves. But I hope that it was a first step towards a good faith negotiation by the Government with the unions - not just that union, but all unions. That was what I wanted to say outside, but I was denied the opportunity. I felt very disappointed. The reality is that I will continue to take action which protects union rights, as I did as far as the payroll deductions of union dues goes. I will continue to do the same.

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (11.46): What we have heard in this debate is a totally fraudulent and very shallow defence from the Chief Minister.

An incident having occurred in the gallery -

MR SPEAKER: Order! If that happens again I shall suspend the Assembly again.

MS FOLLETT: As I say, it was an extremely fraudulent and shallow defence of actions that were designed to be provocative and confrontationist, taken in the midst of an industrial dispute which this Chief Minister sought to worsen, not resolve; and there is no doubt about that. That is absolutely the fact of the matter.

An incident having occurred in the gallery -

MR SPEAKER: The sitting is suspended.

Sitting suspended from 11.48 to 2.30 pm


Public Service - Enterprise Bargaining

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I direct a question to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, now that you have taken the first conciliatory step in three weeks and admitted your mistake on the payroll deduction of union dues, will you show good faith by dropping all other conditions on negotiations and get on with urgent talks with the unions - talks that are aimed at resolving, not exacerbating, the current industrial crisis?

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