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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1780 ..

MR BERRY: They are entitled - - -

Ms Carnell: To have no choice.

MR BERRY: They are entitled to be given exactly what you promised to give them.

Ms Carnell: They have no choice. That is what you want to give them - no choice.

MR BERRY: Ms Carnell interjects, "Give them no choice". Well, I can tell you that of the 17,000, if you give them all the option, I will bet that they would all opt for no involuntary redundancies. You are not saying that to them. What I am saying to you is here is the opportunity, Chief Minister, to ditch the weasel words and stick to the promise. Weasel words have become a culture for this Government, but the opportunity is still being presented to you to remain loyal to your employees. If you do not remain loyal to employees you cannot expect them to remain loyal to you. The impact of that, of course, is on government services in the end. The impact on the general run of the Public Service is that you end up with fewer services, less security, lower morale and poorer service. The reason, at least in one respect, in relation to the Government's performance is that it breaches promises to its workers. This is clearly a breach of promise. My motion requires the Government to implement it, and I urge members to support it.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (3.29): Mr Speaker, I think that Mr Berry has probably done the bit that the union asked him to do now. I think he can now go and have a bit of a slap on the back and say, "Look, I did the job for you boys in the Assembly today". That is what this is about. It is not about public servants at all. It is about Mr Berry being asked or told by his union mates to get in here and put up the flag for the unions, not for the staff - - -

Mr Berry: No, get to the substance of the arguments. Drop off the ridicule and get to the substance.

MS CARNELL: Okay. Let us get to the substance of the argument. When Mr Berry thought this motion would come on last week he and the CPSU organised a rally outside, last Wednesday, about this issue at the same sort of time. Mr Berry knows that. He was there. That is part of it. What did the flyer for the rally say? Did it say, "Save public servants' jobs"? No, it said, "Support a union negotiated agreement". Quite simple. What this is about is nothing to do with voluntary redundancies versus full application of the triple R award. It is to do with exactly what the flyer said: "Support a union negotiated agreement". Nothing more and nothing less. It is simply Mr Berry, but again, saying to those staff that do not want a union negotiated agreement that they do not have that choice. We have seen that before, Mr Speaker. We have seen it regularly.

I have said on many occasions that the major restructuring of the service is now largely complete. There is no doubt about that. We have moved away from a central redundancy pool, something that was used extensively when Mr Berry was in government. I think over $30m was spent out of the central redundancy pool, a huge amount of money, and a large number of people took voluntary redundancies.

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