Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 1993) . . Page.. 1319 ..
Wednesday, 12 May 1993
MADAM SPEAKER (Ms McRae) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.
MR BERRY: I seek leave to present a petition which does not conform with standing orders as it does not address the Assembly.
MR BERRY: I present an out-of-order petition from 1,391 residents opposing any legislation to ban smoking on licensed premises in the ACT.
DISCRIMINATION (AMENDMENT) BILL 1993
Debate resumed from 24 March 1993, on motion by Mr Moore:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MR BERRY (Minister for Health, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Sport) (10.32): These amendments are futile, in reality, when it comes to some of the issues they set out to address; but I want to talk, in the first place, about some of the realities in relation to the politics of the matter. What Mr Moore is setting out to do here, whether he knows it or not, is to destabilise industry in the ACT, weaken the ability of unions to provide for their members, lower wages and working conditions for workers in the ACT, weaken our ability to attract construction to the ACT, and undermine the ability of workers to negotiate with their employers. They are all the effects of weakening the trade union movement. These are the approaches that were taken by John Howard and John Hewson in the lead-up to the last Federal election, which they lost.
This is about a populist approach to grabbing a few votes out there in the community, possibly pinching a few from the Liberals, where there is strong anti-union sentiment. The reason for that anti-union sentiment, of course, is that they want to weaken the workers' power to negotiate. They want to reduce the influence of unions because they do not like the evening out of the negotiating power. They hate it. Mr Moore has effectively leapt onto that band wagon. If this legislation goes ahead we will see that power to negotiate weakened. It will not be a level playing field for workers. There will be some who are unionists and some who are not, some who will be exploited and some who cannot be.
When it comes to the overall effect, and I take the Assembly back to the boxing legislation yesterday, the first people who are affected by the extension of violence in the community are women and children, and the first people who are affected by the weakening of the trade union movement and the undermining of