Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 611 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
including the people it is now charging $25 for their own job. That is the hypocrisy of the whole arrangement. Let us consider one instance when Mr Knop was called in to give telephone advice on Executive restructuring and he earned $30,000 for his trouble. That was over the phone, although he did come in a couple of times. The Government's position on this is clear hypocrisy.
I heard Mr Stefaniak on the radio say, "Well, $60,000 will have to be cut from somewhere". Is Mr Stefaniak arguing that, unless we charge every worker in the ACT $25 for their police check when they go into government employment, we will have to cut services somewhere? You can use that argument for a whole range of services, Mr Stefaniak, but you cannot use it for the employment of workers in the government service. If you attempt to argue it, it shows the blind spot you have in relation to social justice. I have said before that senior executives do not have to pay the administrative costs of their employment, so it is absolutely wrong for you to charge $25 for people who in many cases cannot afford it.
I was out last Friday night socialising and I bumped into one of my constituents, who raised this very issue with me. She mentioned that she had seen that I had had something to say about the matter and she informed me of her position. She was a battler, a single mother who had applied for one of these positions. She was complaining that the $25 was hard to come by. These people over here would not understand that $25 is hard to come by. They would spill more than that on a Friday night booze-up. They would spill more in Grange Hermitage than these people could afford to spend in a week.
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I do not mind engaging in a rational debate about these matters. We can do that. If Mr Berry would resume his seat, I would be happy to finish my point of order. That is the usual courtesy. To talk about Government members engaged in booze-ups is somewhat unparliamentary and not really in keeping with the tone of this debate. I would ask Mr Berry to withdraw those sorts of allegations.
MR SPEAKER: I do not think it is adding anything to this debate, Mr Berry. Please withdraw it.
MR BERRY: I do not think it is unparliamentary. I am pleased to think that our Minister for Justice does not get involved in booze-ups.
MR SPEAKER: Would you withdraw the comment.
MR BERRY: What for? Heavens above, it does not cast any imputations. Okay, Mr Speaker. They would drop more caviar on the floor than these workers could afford to eat in a month of Sundays. Let us not forget where these people are coming from. This woman, a single mother, approaches the department for a job and has to pay $25 - not after she gets a pay packet, but before she gets on the list of people who might get a job at some time. This is the nastiness of this particular approach. It is user pays gone mad, absolutely.