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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2134 ..

Mr De Domenico: I am finding it very difficult to hear the Chief Minister, Mr Speaker.

Ms McRae: Poor Mr De Domenico wants a bit of quiet.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Will you be quiet, Ms McRae.

MRS CARNELL: I am extremely happy to make available a full briefing on the Government's position on enterprise bargaining. As the crossbenches have been briefed by the Trades and Labour Council, they would be aware that about 10 weeks ago the Government laid a first offer on the table. A response was made some two weeks ago. I believe that another meeting is to go ahead in the next few days.

I understood that this was the way enterprise bargaining actually worked; that this sort of toing and froing occurred. It is called bargaining. Interestingly, it is called enterprise bargaining, which usually means that you bargain on an enterprise-by-enterprise basis. As part of our initial offer, we have undertaken to have a whole-of-government or service-wide approach for such important issues as EEO and maternity leave. All of those sorts of things are set in a service-wide approach. If people on the crossbenches would like a full briefing to understand what is actually happening in this area from our perspective, we are more than happy to make that available. Then would be the appropriate time to debate this issue in this house, assuming that at that stage those on the crossbenches believed that they needed to.

MS TUCKER (4.30), in reply: Mr Speaker, I cannot understand why it is just so terribly surprising. You say that we are not consulting. We have been asking questions in the Estimates Committee for some time. We have been going through the Estimates Committee transcripts. The whole process is extremely rushed. We have not had satisfactory answers when we have asked questions about IR. Because of the timeframe that we have had, it is quite appropriate that we bring this up. I did not have a problem with having the MPI; but, because this whole day has been taken up with other matters which you gave us no notice of, it seemed more appropriate to abandon the MPI debate, which would have gone for an hour, and go straight into the debate on the substantive motion. That is why we have chosen to proceed as we have.

We keep hearing that this Government was elected to govern. One of the reasons we supported Mrs Carnell as Chief Minister was that she gave a commitment over and over again to an open process - even an open budget process, she said. There would not be a black box budget, she said. Nevertheless, that is what we got and now when we question anything we are told, "How dare you threaten the budget! Our bottom line is set. We are fiscally managing this place responsibly". We are saying that we have real concerns about the impact of your bottom line, and we have no way of getting into that and discussing it with you or getting you to consider changes. I conclude by urging members to support the suspension of standing orders.

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