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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 1 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 101 ..

Ms McRae: You interrupted.

MR MOORE: I have an interjection from Ms McRae, "You interrupted". There have been many times when I have interrupted meetings, when I have made special arrangements to meet with union leaders over the last seven years on very short notice; and I will continue to do so. I hope that, when I request the opportunity for them to listen to me, it will be granted. I will continue to do so, because I respect each union member and will continue to do so. I was a member of a union until the time I was elected, and I believe that that says a great deal about my position.

The debate today is particularly interesting, in light of Mr Berry's amendment. There will be some who would argue that there is no need to debate this issue - and we heard the Chief Minister argue that way - because, after all, the payroll deduction of union dues is now off the agenda. I had a fax to this effect this morning. The time on the fax is 9.42 am. Obviously, it took some time to get to cc:mail. But the point is that there are some who would say that the issue is now off the agenda. I do not believe that that is enough.

What we have is a situation where the Government took some quite inflammatory action. I responded immediately, and I will continue to respond and say to the Government that this is simply not good enough.

Ms Follett: You did not say that yesterday, though, did you? You would not censure them.

MR MOORE: Ms Follett interjects, "You did not say that yesterday. You would not censure them". A short while ago she went out and spoke to the unions, who listened to her, and she totally misrepresented the arguments that I had put yesterday. It is the depth that she is dropping to at the moment because she knows that her leadership is under challenge. It will be, because she is doing such a bloody hopeless job - a totally hopeless job.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Relevance, Mr Moore.

MR MOORE: The amendment that Mr Berry has put certainly makes it clear that the Government ought not participate in this sort of union bashing. It can be construed in no other way. It was an attack directed specifically at unions. I wondered whether it was even able to be carried out under our Discrimination Act, because I believe that discrimination on the grounds of employer or employee status is part of the Discrimination Act. I certainly perceived it as an act of discrimination. I think it was Ms Follett who circulated an opinion that her former colleague Terry Connolly had written that certainly there would be a fair case to answer. I think that is a fair interpretation of that opinion.

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