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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2911 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Not only has this been bungled throughout, but also this Assembly has been misled. This Assembly has been misled because Mr De Domenico said on a number of occasions that there were no strings attached to this pay rise. He still says, "There are no strings attached to this pay rise".

Mr De Domenico: Sign the agreement, and you can have one per cent right away.

MR BERRY: Here comes the truth now: "You sign the agreement, and there are no strings attached". What a joke you are! Four or five times in this Assembly you misled us. You said, "There are no strings attached". We know for certain that there were strings attached, because the workers had to sign the agreement first. They had to lock themselves in. You tried to spread the lie through this chamber. You tried to use the Hansard process in this chamber to spread further propaganda in relation to the untruthful message that you were trying to put to the community. This no strings attached approach that you were taking was untruthful; and you should admit it, because there were big strings attached. You should apologise to this chamber for misleading it. I warn you that, if I do not hear an apology during this debate, further action could ensue. You people set the standard. If you mislead the chamber, you know what happens.

We have a situation where we have bungled industrial relations. One good thing that you did do is that you let the rest of Australia know the real Liberal agenda when it comes to industrial relations. You have shown by your example what people can expect from the Federal Liberals if this country should ever have the misfortune of their coming to office.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member's time has expired.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.41): Finally, after nine months, we get an MPI from the Opposition. Isn't it a blockbuster? Isn't it a beauty? We listened to 15 minutes of trite sayings. Mr Humphries's 20-minute speech was at least interesting and gave us some details about something. Mr Berry's speech was the greatest rubbish that this Assembly has had the privilege of listening to.

There are a number of matters that need to be clarified, to address the false claims made today by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Let us look at the Government's responsiveness on negotiations of enterprise bargaining agreements. The fact is that the Government made its initial offer on 22 August 1995, in a letter endorsed by the Government, and signed by the Chief Executive of the Chief Minister's Department. It took six weeks for the Trades and Labour Council to respond to this initial offer.

It is worth setting out in detail the chronology of events since that time. They show just how false are the Opposition's claims regarding delays and further demonstrate that at every stage the Government either has been the initiator of discussions or has responded very quickly to issues raised by the unions. The chronology of events goes as follows: As I said, the Government's initial offer was on 22 August. The first meeting with the unions was on 15 September. The unions' formal rejection of the Government's offer was on 20 September. The unions' counterclaim was on 11 October, six weeks after the Government's initial offer.

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