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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2908 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

In the first place, I want to run through some of the preliminaries which gave rise to this abysmal performance. One of the first things that emerged as a contentious issue was the appointment of Mr Houlihan. A document which was sent out by the Government through its electronic mailing arrangements, which have been used as a propaganda and threat machine throughout this industrial relations debacle, included some mention of Mr Houlihan. It went on to say that he had been engaged to provide strategic advice to agencies on their reform agendas and so on. Mr Houlihan has a reputation of being associated with confrontationists in renowned industrial disputes in other places in this country. Mrs Carnell, we now know, appointed Mr Houlihan, which tells you everything that you need to know about the policies of this conservative Liberal Government opposite. This is a confrontationist government and an anti-union government, and recent events have pointed to that very clearly.

I should add that the message which was sent through the electronic propaganda machine of the Government to workers in the workplace included, word for word, Mr De Domenico's press release. When it comes to the transmission of information to government workers, the Executive using the public service computer network to propagandise its work force is pretty well unprecedented.

Mr Hird: What was that word again?

MR BERRY: It is a bit too long for you, Harold. That was one of the first issues that turned up. It would have sent a strong signal to workers that this Government was on a confrontation course. We then got a series of enterprise bargaining newsletters which talked about the matters which were raised by unions. One of the first talked about the formal bargaining period that had been initiated by the unions. Mr De Domenico focused on the lockouts. As soon as somebody said, "Lockouts", he said, "Beauty; that is what I want - lockouts". Mr Houlihan said, "Good on you, Tony; go for your life".

Mr De Domenico: Who said "lockouts"? The Federal Industrial Relations Act passed by the Labor Government said it.

MR BERRY: No. Mr De Domenico says, "Who said `lockouts'? The Federal Industrial Relations Commission". The Act says that there is a formal bargaining period. Bargaining means negotiating and sorting the deal out, not threatening to lock the workers out and dock their pay. These enterprise bargaining propaganda statements go out through the electronic mailing system. The Government makes sure that workers in the public sector are threatened by its approach. It talks about the protected action by unions. All of a sudden, it loses interest in the bargaining period. All it wants to do after that is focus on the protected action by employers, described as lockouts. That became heavier and heavier. Enterprise Bargaining Circular No. 5 says:

As reported in the media the Government is prepared to agree that the first instalment ... of any overall wage increase that is negotiated could be paid before Christmas.

Mr De Domenico later lauds that in this Assembly as a great and generous, no strings attached offer. Mr De Domenico said that there were no strings attached; none at all; one per cent before Christmas in your pay-packet.

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