Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1378..
MS TUCKER (4.32): I will be brief in speaking to the motion and the amendment because there is no need to have a full debate, but we did go to a lot of trouble to work out how we would vote on this issue, as usual. I will just point out that when we did research on this matter we came to the conclusion that Mr Berry was quite right in what he was saying. We also had a look at what is happening in other places. We agree that having the police checks is fine as we do want to protect our children, but whether it is fair to pass on the costs of those checks to job applicants was not clear.
We had a look at what was happening around the place. We heard of quite high costs for the job application process, such as flying to interviews being covered by some recruiting organisations. We checked with the recruitment office of the federal Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs and ascertained that they have a different process. They run police checks only for successful applicants and the department covers the costs. The ACT department's advice to my office at the time was that they run police checks on all applicants for casual teaching positions because, they were arguing, the applicants need to be able to commence work immediately, but in the same situation the New South Wales education department did not charge job applicants for the police checks.
Just on the amendment, Mr Berry's motion points out that the department's charging of applicants has strong parallels with job agencies charging fees for their services and that that is illegal in the ACT. It has been illegal since our vote just over a year ago to amend the Agents Act by passing the Agents Amendment Bill 1998. The parallel is that both organisations are offering work and charging persons in order to cover some of the costs of the service. The Assembly has already decided that it is not fair for job agents to charge fees to job seekers. This decision was taken after the Justice and Community Safety Committee inquired into that bill. In conclusion, I am glad to see that the government has changed its position and acknowledged belatedly its goodwill in this regard.
MR RUGENDYKE (4.35): Goodness me, don't the last few days remind us all of the movie Brewster's Millions and aren't we pleased that Mr Berry has come up with this motion alerting Mr Stefaniak to the small fortune that he still must give away to receive his inheritance this year! I support the motion, which is a good one. Congratulations!
Amendment agreed to.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Proportional Representation (Hare-Clark) Entrenchment Amendment Bill 2001
Debate resumed from 14 February 2001, on motion by Ms Tucker:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (4.36): I rise to oppose this piece of legislation. The concept that Ms Tucker has put forward is not a concept that I find foreign; it is actually a concept that I quite agree with. But my understanding of this legislation is that, effectively, it requires a referendum to be