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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 3 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 654..


MRS BURKE (continuing):

get."Let us have the debate when all the facts are on the table. That is why at page 69 in my report under "additional comments"I said,

I propose, therefore, that the Select Committee on Working Families be suspended immediately and re-established, along with the new terms of reference, in March 2007.

The decision rests with the chair.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.09), in reply: Just once I would like to be surprised by Mrs Burke; just once I would like her to stand up for the workers of the ACT in her constituency; just once I would like her to have an independent thought to those of Mr Mulcahy or the federal government on the matter of industrial relations. But today will not be the day. In typical fashion Mrs Burke has ignored the effects, the numbers which were produced by witnesses. If you recall, 90 to 94 per cent of witnesses raised grave concerns and spoke about the effects on their working lives. She has taken the contrary line. We now see the action. Mrs Burke mentioned on page 69 in her additional comments at point 6.3 her intention to shut down the committee. She has just called it again in her final speech. How incredible!

Mrs Burke: Mr Speaker, I wish to raise a point of order. I did not ask to shut down the committee.

MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. Resume your seat.

MR GENTLEMAN: Here we have a member elected to represent her constituents, selected by her peers to take part in the Assembly's committee process, recommending that her own committee-a committee formed by this Assembly to examine the effects on families here in the ACT of certain pieces of legislation-be shut down. I have never before heard of a member of a committee asking for her own committee to be shut down. It is my understanding that this has never occurred before in the history of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Perhaps I can add some reference as to why Mrs Burke has this feeling about the working families committee. From the very first hearing, when we heard from Mrs Burke during questions to witnesses regarding their submissions, she seemed to attack them, questioning a submission from the transport workers union and other witnesses, saying she considered their submission on the Work Choices legislation and the committee a furphy. I looked up the word "furphy"in Webster's dictionary. It says that a furphy is a far-fetched rumour. Here we see a committee member representing the seat of Molonglo-and, I might add, the people of Canberra-calling the whole process of the committee a far-fetched rumour. This was done publicly in front of the very witnesses called on to be heard at our committee and, in fact, at her request as a committee member.

Mrs Burke did not limit the attack to transport workers. She attacked members of ACTCOSS and representatives of the CFMEU and accused the committee and witnesses of scaremongering, as she has here today. In fact the only time Mrs Burke appeared to silence her attack was when the subject of the unscrupulous dealings of some construction companies, forcing workers from employment to self-employment or


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