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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 8 Hansard (13 August) . .

Page.. 2530..


On a more personal level, this type of comment is pretty hurtful for my children and grandchildren to hear on the news, and I find it especially sad that it came from another woman. I am not going to say anymore, as I think we all need to move on. I would like to thank Ms Berry for her apology.

Commissioner Deegan—retirement

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (6.45): I rise today to speak about the career of Barbara Deegan, who is retiring as fair work commissioner and whose farewell I attended last Thursday, 7 August.

Commissioner Deegan began her career in 1979 after obtaining a bachelor of laws from the University of Tasmania in 1977. She has played an important role in the protection of the rights of workers over the years, contributing both here and internationally.

In 1992 Commissioner Deegan was an Australian government delegate for the Keating government to the International Labour Conference with the responsibility for the development of the C173 Protection of Workers Claims (Employer Insolvency) Convention 1992. Her international work has covered very interesting ground. Along with work for the International Labour Conference she was an Australian government delegate to the World Summit for Social Development in Geneva in 1995 and the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995.

Closer to home, Commissioner Deegan has held many roles within the field of workers rights and industrial relations, including having a role as commissioner for the Australian Industrial Relations Commission from 1996 to 2009. In 2008 she was appointed by the commonwealth Minister for Employment, Education and Workplace Relations and the commonwealth Minister for Immigration and Citizenship to conduct a review of the temporary skilled migration—457—visa system, which was later known as the Deegan commission. Following this, Commissioner Deegan was appointed to the Australian Fair Work Commission in 2009, the position from which she recently retired, and to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission in 2010.

I have personally had many interactions with Commissioner Deegan on a professional level over many years. Appearing before Commissioner Deegan was often an intimidating task. You always had to know your stuff, as the chance that your evidence and argument would be picked apart was very high. She presented herself as a formidable audience, always taking into account all of the facts and ruling in a just manner. I remember the sweaty palms and furious re-reading of notes that occurred before hearings with the commissioner.

In regard to Commissioner Deegan's retirement, there are a couple of issues that I would like to raise that are relevant to the ACT. Commissioner Deegan was not only the longest serving commissioner prior to her retirement but also the only


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