Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3031 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Ms Follett made the comment that, because this is going to be an ACT tribunal, people may take the view that, in fact, the ACT Government, or even members, are themselves somehow setting their own salaries. Mr Speaker, it is possible that some people could think that, but I believe most people understand the difference between remuneration tribunals and parliaments making these sorts of decisions. The tribunal, even if appointed by a process of legislation in this place, is still a separate statutory body with the power to determine, separately from politicians, what the salary levels should be. I do not think many people would run around saying, "The politicians have decided their own salaries because the tribunal that set them was appointed by ACT Government politicians". I think that is a fairly long bow, Mr Speaker. I think that the Leader of the Opposition's concerns on this matter should be allayed on that score.
MR BERRY (12.03): Mr Speaker, this is the second day in a row when Mr Humphries has come into a debate and put an argument which has not been tainted by factual background. This debate is a classic because we have an element of the old States' rights argument creeping through - we have to have our own; we cannot let the Commonwealth control it. That sort of Liberal philosophy seems to be popping through here. One of the most important issues is that an overwhelming number of public servants will still have their wages and working conditions sorted out by the Industrial Relations Commission, the Commonwealth statutory authority. Here we have a government, at a time when they do not have money to provide proper funding for education and those sorts of things - they had to close schools, they had to sell off public bodies - - -
Mrs Carnell: This is $60,000.
MR BERRY: Okay, this is only $60,000. You want to save about $18,000 by cutting out mammography at our public hospital and rinsing out pots instead of sterilising. What a joke! You are prepared to spend $60,000 to duplicate what is already available elsewhere. Mr Speaker, I think that each time one of these members opposite gets up they weaken their own argument. Mr Humphries is another one.
Mr De Domenico: You are not doing much for yours.
MR BERRY: Well, deny that the wages and working conditions of our public servants are dealt with by a Commonwealth statutory authority. You cannot deny that because it is true.
Mr De Domenico: What has that to do with it?
MR BERRY: "What has that to do with it?", Mr De Domenico interjects. This goes back to the old days when Mr De Domenico was wishing we could set up our own Industrial Relations Commission in the ACT. He was wishing that we would spend an extra $1m to set it up. What a nonsense! This is the very issue that has emerged here because it is inappropriate to go around spending taxpayers' money to duplicate authorities which are already available to us without cost to the taxpayer. It just seems so stupid to me that you would suggest that.