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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 17 February 2005 2005) . . Page.. 584 ..


Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order!

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is getting a little loud in here. I wondered what Mr Mulcahy had to say. Did he just listen, did he have something to say or did he just take instructions from up at the big house? It is time that the Liberal opposition here came clean.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister’s time has expired.

MS MacDONALD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, could you provide detail on the impact that these proposed reforms will have on workers in the ACT?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, if any of the recommendations in the BCA report were to be adopted, they would have significant impact on the ACT, as we do work within and under the federal workplace relations system. For example, the slashing of allowable matters from the common rule awards in the ACT would see a drastic reduction in the conditions of workers in the ACT covered by these awards and it would inevitably erode conditions in certified agreements. If these proposals are implemented, ACT workers would lose from their awards long service leave, loading for overtime and casual rates, penalty rates, redundancy pay, notice of termination provisions, stand-down provisions, pay and conditions for outworkers, classifications of employees, and incentive based payments. And, of course, considering that a large proportion of our work force is employed under certified agreements, any weakening of certified agreement conditions would have a massive impact on working people and their families in the ACT.

So questions need to be asked, as Mr Mulcahy trots up to the house to have a general discussion on workplace relations reform. He did not actually include in his media release any of the details. He just said that he was going to talk about “various other issues affecting workplace relations”. He needs to come clean on what he intends to do to stand up for working families in the ACT. Is he going to just accept the federal government’s line? Is he going to accept—

Ms MacDonald: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: contrary to standing order 39, members on the other side continually interrupt the minister as she is answering the question. I am interested in what she is saying and I would like to hear what she has to say. Could they please desist from breaking standing order 39?

MR SPEAKER: They shall.

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will just finish up here. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the reforms suggested, aside from the comprehensive award stripping, is the attack on state jurisdictions and their ability to regulate and legislate in this very important area. The measure promises to have a huge impact on the ability of workers to seek industrial justice under state and territory industrial systems. The proposed reforms, strenuously presented by the BCA and welcomed by Mr Andrews, are a challenge to the industrial relations system that has served Australia very well. Time


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