Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 February 2010) . . Page.. 474 ..
The Greens believe that the amendments before us are a positive step as they will ensure that the commissioner and the boards will have access to the same material at the same time. We do hope that once the amendments before us are enacted, the relationship between the commissioner and the boards will improve and that some of the anxiety boards are currently experiencing with regard to the introduction of the national registration and accreditation scheme will be relieved.
Finally, I would like to speak to the concerns expressed by Mr Seselja around the sections of the bill which propose to insert industrial activity as a ground of discrimination. Mr Seselja, as he indicated, would have preferred debate on the bill be adjourned so that the Attorney-General can have the concerns addressed.
The Greens do not share the concerns of the Liberal Party and we do not support adjourning debate on the legislation. The amendment would include industrial activity as a ground of discrimination and then go on to define the term. The definition is in line with the commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009 and the definition used in other jurisdictions.
Importantly, the definition does include both joining or not joining an industrial organisation, or participating or not participating in a lawful activity organised by an industrial association. This catches both positive involvement with an industrial organisation and the decision not to be involved.
The scope of the definition is important and the Greens welcome it. Discrimination on the basis of industrial activity should be included in the Discrimination Act, and we support that policy development. We do not share the concern that having non-involvement defined as industrial activity for the purposes of the Discrimination Act is problematic. We support the amendment on the basis that it offers protection to people who choose to engage in industrial activity but, importantly, also to those who choose not to. That is the scope the act should have, and we support the change.
In conclusion, the Greens support the bill. We believe it makes for a more efficient Human Rights Commission that is better able to perform its important work. On that basis, we will be supporting the amendments as proposed.
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.28 to 2 pm.
Questions without notice
MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, it has been reported on the ABC that nine obstetricians have resigned from the Canberra Hospital in the last 13 months. This exodus has been described by the royal college of obstetricians and gynaecologists as “unheard of”. Minister, at a briefing today you advised Mr Hanson that this number was actually five and the time frame was two years. Minister, which of these accounts is correct?