Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2920 ..
MR CONNOLLY (continuing):
or should know, that considerable strings were attached. When Mr Berry was making this point, Mr De Domenico interjected, "Of course everybody knows that. Don't be naive. Of course we have to get them to sign up to a whole package". We know that, Mr De Domenico; you know that; but you were no doubt hoping that the general public, particularly ACT government workers, did not know that.
Enterprise bargaining is a complex area; it has been a feature of the Australian industrial relations landscape only in recent years. There is still not a lot of expertise out there in the way that enterprise bargaining is carried out. That is obviously one reason why, when, for the first time ever, we had an ACT government enterprise bargain, it took some time to negotiate. This is the second or third time round. It is obviously going to take less time. But the fact is that you said in this place, "Workers will get a wage increase; up front, no strings attached".
Letters from your department make it very clear that getting that pay increase is conditional on unions signing up to a process in a package which will involve very considerable strings. It involves acceptance of your reform agenda. It involves future productivity-linked pay increases. We can debate the merits of that process, but there can be no doubt that what you said in this Assembly in answer to that question and the facts, as disclosed by Mr Walker's letter, do not match. Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table the letter from Mr Walker, dated 5 December, which shows the truth of the matter.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (5.09): Very briefly, as the time is late, I would like to run over a couple of very important issues. They are all, I suppose, at the crux of what Mr Berry and Mr Connolly were talking about with regard to Federal Liberal intervention. If the Federal Liberal Party put pressure on anyone over the weekend, it must have been the TLC, because it was the TLC which approached the Government over the weekend, as Mr Pyner has been quite public in saying. If you follow Mr Berry's and Mr Connolly's logic, then it was the TLC which buckled under to pressure from the Federal Liberal Party; and they cowered, to use Mr Berry's word, quickly got on the phone to us and said, "Quickly; we have to have a meeting, because the Federal Liberals have just got in touch with me". I am a bit inclined to believe that Jeremy Pyner would not behave in that way if the Federal Liberal Party got in touch with him. It seems to me that the whole basis of Mr Berry's very unusual line of attack is totally spurious. The reality is that the Federal Liberal Party, as we have said before, has not got in touch with us at all; and, again, it was Mr Pyner who believed that the time had come to have another round of meetings, which we were always very happy to have. I am very happy that the situation has improved.
One of the other things that are important is that Mr Pyner, I understand, went to see Mr Berry on Monday morning, yesterday morning, before he came to see us. That is fine. There is nothing wrong with that; except that I understand that Mr Berry probably went out, still spoiling for a fight - even after understanding all that had happened over the weekend - and held a press conference at which he said, "Shock, horror! We will all be damned; we will all be doomed". That seems to me to indicate that maybe the motivation was nothing to do with reaching an enterprise agreement but was everything to do with trying to score some political points or getting his face on television.