Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 2051 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
Mr Speaker, it may be interesting to our guests here to know that Mr Connolly, who moved this amendment, is from Adelaide, as are our guests, and that I was a teacher in South Australia and in Adelaide for quite a number of years. They can hear the interjections, Mr Speaker. We have an affinity with our guests. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome them to the newest legislature in Australia and I hope that they enjoy their few minutes of debate with us. Those are the reasons why I will be opposing Mr Connolly's motion. As for the sentiment that is expressed, which I support, there is another way of catching it through the Statutory Appointments Act.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (4.50): Mr Speaker, I have listened very carefully to what those opposite have had to say about the reason for this amendment and I am still not convinced about it. I was accused earlier today of trying to change legislation to smooth the way for my mates. I have to say that this rather smacks of the same thing. There is something unusual about this amendment. I could not quite work it out when I first saw it, but now I have worked out what it is. Normally, when we have provisions like this in legislation and want to have particular client groups putting someone forward for a position, we say such and such a member nominated by the Trades and Labour Council or nominated by the Chamber of Commerce or whatever it might be; but in this case it says "appointed by the Trades and Labour Council". Mr Speaker, clause 10 of the Bill says the Minister shall appoint the members of the board.
I would argue, Mr Speaker, that this amendment is inconsistent with the rest of the Bill, but it is not unintentionally inconsistent because it is clearly the intention of those opposite to allow the TLC the power to make an appointment directly to the board, which bypasses the executive government and which bypasses the statutory appointments process, because you cannot have a statutory appointments consideration of this matter if it is an appointment directly by the TLC. In any case, Mr Speaker, even if it said "nominated by the TLC", I have not seen the argument put forward by those opposite that says that someone other than the person anointed by the TLC cannot cooperate with the Trades and Labour Council or with the union movement generally. I remind members that a decreasing number of workers each year in this Territory are members of unions and, indirectly, the Trades and Labour Council.
Mr Berry: They are lining up to join up now.
MR HUMPHRIES: The last time I saw figures they were declining in membership, not increasing; so the relevance of this body is decreasing each year. Nonetheless, I think that the Government should look seriously at an appointee of the Trades and Labour Council. Indeed, it has made a number of appointments from the Trades and Labour Council since it came to office, and not necessarily in cases where it was obliged to by provisions in statutes. There is no argument that says that we cannot have cooperation on these issues. There is certainly no argument that says that we have to have someone from the Trades and Labour Council on the Health Promotion Board to manage the board rather than deliver particular health promotion services into the community. That does not make any sense at all.