Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1824..
Legislative Assembly (Members' Staff) Act-Instrument No 42 of 2001
Motion for disallowance
Legislative Assembly (Members' Staff) Act-Instrument No 43 of 2001]
MR SPEAKER: Is it the wish of the Assembly to debate this motion for disallowance concurrently with the motion for disallowance of instrument No 43 of 2001? There being no objection, that course will be followed. I remind members that in debating Assembly business notice No 2 they may also address their remarks to Assembly business notice No 3.
MR BERRY (11.07): I move:
That Instrument No 42 of 2001 entitled "Terms and Conditions of Employment of Staff of Office-Holders pursuant to Section 6 (2)", made under the Legislative Assembly (Members' Staff) Act 1989, be disallowed.
Mr Speaker, this disallowance motion goes to an instrument dated 9 March 2001 which affects staff of both members of the Assembly and office holders. The instrument sets out to impose conditions on members in relation to the negotiation of wages and working conditions-staff terms and conditions, as they are described in the instruments-in respect of certified agreements under the Australian workplace agreements system. It sets out also to put in place a regime for the negotiation of secret Australian workplace agreements for the staff of members and office holders.
The fundamental point of objection here is to the lowering of the bar which has occurred in relation to the negotiations which are to take place in those two matters. I do not know where the government gets its advice from on these things, but it is almost certainly-
Mr Humphries: From the public service.
MR BERRY: Is that right? I do not know the background of the public servant who gave you this advice, but it is almost certainly ideological because the instrument seeks to lower the bar of a no-disadvantage test which will apply to staff in this place when these negotiations are pursued. Whether it is intended is unclear-if it is intended, it is malicious; if it is unintended, it is incompetence-but it will also draw this legislature into conflict with federal legislation, namely, the Workplace Relations Act 1996.
Mr Humphries: Not according to my advice.
MR BERRY: I am afraid that you might have to check your advice again, because I understand that these issues have been the subject of notice in the Industrial Relations Commission and there has been some discussion about these issues in the commission. The union, I think it is the MEAA, have indicated that if this determination holds sway, they will seek an order from the commission to override the decision of the Assembly insofar as some elements of the instrument are concerned.