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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2137 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The other significant impact that the Liberals' proposal will have is to take awards and conditions of workers away from the direct impact of the Industrial Relations Commission and place workers in the hands of the Government. We believe that the certification, maintenance and integrity of industrial agreements should lie with the umpire, the Industrial Relations Commission, not with the Government; yet that is what they are proposing. I refer members to 1.3 of the ACT Government's proposed framework for enterprise bargaining, where the Government says that it will retain the right to veto any agreement reached between employees and any particular agency.

Mr Speaker, it appears that the unions are being asked to deliver Mrs Carnell's budget for her. The Government has put the onus on the unions, but it has not invited them to negotiate a mutual starting point for this process. The Government's proposal is about reducing hard won conditions for those at the lower end of the salary scale while increasing salaries at the top end. It is a repeat performance of the destructive industrial policies of the Western Australian and Victorian Liberal governments.

Mr Speaker, it may have been understandable for the Government to seek to act in such a draconian way if the employees of the Territory were not trying to do the right thing, but they are. No-one would argue that there is not more action needed; but reform takes time, and the proposals that have been put to the Government from the union movement seek to increase the efficiency and flexibility of government. The trade unions have put a proposal that seeks to ensure mobility and portability within the public sector while creating flexibility to ensure far greater efficiency. A good example is in the area of lawn mowing, where they are negotiating a flexible work system so that employees can build up hours during the off-season and use them during the lawn mowing season as a means of avoiding excessive overtime payments.

It would be good if Mr Osborne could listen to this, seeing that he has to vote on it soon.

Mr Osborne: I am married, Kerrie. I can listen with one ear and watch TV.

MS TUCKER: Great. I am glad to hear it. Mr Speaker, the Greens believe that it is imperative that the ACT not go down the road of separate enterprise agreements. Employees in this Territory deserve to be treated equitably. They deserve to have full portability and mobility, and they deserve to receive increases that will keep them above the poverty line and able to feed and clothe their loved ones. I hope that other members of this place will support this motion.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.43): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I have never heard so much nonsense. I am not getting angry at you, Ms Tucker, because you always get upset; but I have never heard so much nonsense. Why can we not adopt the approach that every other government, Liberal and Labor, has adopted throughout the length and breadth of this country? It works, Ms Tucker.

Let me blow your argument right out of the water with an agreement I signed, away from the centralised claptrap that you were talking about, with the Transport Workers Union. When? It was on 20 September 1995. I hear an interjection from the peanut gallery that there is not one. If Mr Trevor Santi's signature is not sufficient for me to realise that

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