Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 841 ..
MR BERRY (10.32): Mr Speaker, I present the Agents (Amendment) Bill 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR BERRY: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, this Bill sets out to amend the Agents Act 1968 to apply a scheme of agent regulation to employment agents. Let me draw members' attention for a moment to the Agents Act 1968. The Agents Act regulates the business of real estate agents, stock and station agents, business agents and travel agents. What my Bill sets out to do is to include employment agents amongst the agents which are regulated under the current Act.
Mr Speaker, since John Howard was elected, we have seen a lot of changes on the employment front. In the Australian Capital Territory, we saw 9,000 jobs cut by the Howard Government, according to the Government's budget papers. We saw something like 3,000 jobs cut out of the ACT work force by the Carnell Government - a far bigger percentage of employees than was cut by John Howard. So, we have had a serious situation imposed upon us by uncaring governments. Of course, we have ended up with a situation where there are significant numbers of employees who have been looking for work in the Australian Capital Territory. Some of these job cuts have hit Canberra harder than the rest of Australia. Those massive public sector job cuts to which I have referred are the most prominent example of it. Others, of course, have hit working Australians as a whole. In that category are the draconian elements of the Workplace Relations Act and the dismantling of the CES. Do you remember the promise, "No worker will be worse off."? That was a particularly callous promise. The fact is that most are worse off, not only in respect of the Howard Government, but also in respect of the Carnell Government.
An area I became aware of in April is the burgeoning area of employment agents - the system where the unemployed now have to go to a range of employment agents rather than simply registering with the CES. One of the fastest growing areas of the ACT economy under Kate Carnell and her ideological soul mate John Howard is