Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 26 September 2019) . . Page.. 3991 ..


unions by mandating their involvement in everything from workplace health and safety training to their appearances at Magistrates Court fair work matters. Bit by bit, unions are becoming less accountable to the law, increasingly able to have a say on who works where and for how long. What is worse, throughout all of this, it is not the unions who bear the cost; it is the small businesses of Canberra and Canberra ratepayers who are burdened with the cost of this union creep.

Given the track record of this government and the disgraceful behaviour of unions that this government continues to endorse, I cannot help but call into question the government’s motives for formalising this arrangement in territory legislation. If the Chief Minister were genuinely concerned about the rights of public servants in the enterprise bargaining process, there would be no need for section 242A, particularly given that these arrangements are already provided for within existing EBAs. Instead, what we have seen here is an amendment that reflects just how beholden the government is to its union puppet-masters.

We should not be surprised, however. This is not the first time that Mr Barr and his government have failed public servants and put their union mates ahead of Canberrans. When Mr Barr had the opportunity in 2018 to stand up for public servants and make meaningful reform on public interest disclosure laws, he refused. It took the establishment of an integrity commission for him to consider reviews into whistleblower protections.

Interestingly, one of the only other jurisdictions with similar union information sharing arrangements is Queensland, which is currently under the direction of a similarly woeful Labor government at the behest of the unions. We should not be looking to the Palaszczuk government for inspiration on how to govern effectively or with integrity, because they are not the gold standard in either regard.

We will not be supporting the Public Sector Management Amendment Bill in its current form. The arrangements proposed under section 242A undermine the enterprise bargaining process, unduly strengthen the power of unions without reason and could pose serious security threats to the personal data of public servants. By authorising user data information under territory legislation, these amendments unreasonably limit the rights to privacy and reputation by removing them from the enterprise bargaining process. It is clear that, just as the unions have long failed to stand up for the rights of workers across the territory, so too has this government stopped governing for all Canberrans, particularly our hardworking public servants.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (3.31): In somewhat of a contrast to the last speech, the Greens will be supporting the Public Sector Management Amendment Bill. The bill amends several areas across legislation which will serve to align and clarify a range of matters for the ACT public service. Our public servants work across the territory to provide policy, strategic and front-line advice and services for the benefit of the Canberra community. This bill helps to ensure the proper management of conditions and processes for our hardworking ACT government employees.

The bill makes clear the citizenship and permanent residency requirements for ACT public service employees, and other technical amendments to improve human


Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video