Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 623 ..
MR OSBORNE (continuing):
I will table the document and then you can read it. I seek leave to table it, Mr Speaker.
MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, as I said, I will be brief. I will be supporting this motion of Mr Berry's. I think it is an unfair cost. I think it is a very sensible motion. I do agree, as Mr Stanhope, Ms Tucker and Mr Berry said, that it is an ad hoc approach. I would like to know how or why it is that, all of a sudden, you are charging for this one particular administration fee when I can think of many more within the Public Service that you could follow up on. I agree with Mr Stanhope that $25, although it may not seem a lot to us, certainly to the people who would be applying for these positions would be a hell of a big cost. As Mr Berry says, $25 would be enough to pay for a school excursion for a child, bus fares to work or lunches. I think that it is unnecessary. As I said, I will be supporting Mr Berry. I think that it is quite mean of the Government, in particular the Minister, to be slapping this on that element of the work force who can ill afford it.
Mr Stefaniak: Mr Speaker, perhaps I can just interrupt before Mr Berry closes the debate. In relation to the points raised by Mr Osborne, I table, as I indicated I would, the fee charges for other State education agencies, which is what I was referring to. I do not think that is at all inconsistent with what you are saying, Mr Osborne. Might I also indicate to Mr Rugendyke that the Government, of course, charges only its own employees. We have no intention of charging non-government agencies, and I give that undertaking.
MR BERRY (11.46), in reply: Mr Speaker, the Government seems to rely on its claim that this is fair and reasonable. If that were the case, by implication it is unfair and unreasonable for nurses not to be charged the fee, it is unfair and unreasonable for doctors not to be charged the fee, it is unfair and unreasonable for community service workers not to be charged the fee, and it is unfair and unreasonable for food service workers not to be charged the fee, because they all come into contact with children. The basis of the argument from the Government was the emotional issue of police checks for people who come into contact with children. That is not a good argument. If you apply the fair and reasonable test to that argument, you have to apply it right across the broader range of employment in the ACT.
Mr Speaker, the Government has made a point that the charge is applied in other places and that that is a good reason for it to apply here. We do not know about the reasons for its application in other places, but if you merely attach yourself to those ideas I think the point has been fairly made by Ms Tucker that this is a poorly thought out proposal. It has also been pointed out by my colleague the Leader of the Opposition, Jon Stanhope, that this is adhocery.
In the normal course of events, when one applies for a job and one presents oneself, one is given an application form. It is a long time since I applied for a job, but my experience from assisting people who were applying for a Public Service job is that there is always a little box somewhere that says, "Have you got a criminal record?" and invites a yes or