Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1787 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
Chief Minister, the Canberra community needs stability. The people of this community are crying out for it. We understood that the Carnell Government thought the stability of the public sector and the level of job loss was important. It was important enough to make it an election issue, as other speakers have said.
This is, of course, the very issue we are discussing. The Chief Minister made a commitment to the Community and Public Sector Union that redundancies will only be allowed if the workload goes, and that the Canberra Liberals have never supported job loss alone. She then continued to say that they propose to put in the new agreements clauses on voluntary redundancies in the current agreements.
In six months the tide has changed considerably. The union and workers have been told that they cannot expect a pay rise. They are likely to face a reduction in their current conditions, a reduction in sick leave by the rolling in of individual sick leave and family leave entitlements, and their job security will not be guaranteed. No more commitment. Was this a core commitment, we wonder? In my estimation it should have been.
At a time when the Canberra community was so unstable and had sustained such a blow with extensive job losses in both the ACT and Commonwealth public services, the whole community got behind the public sector as they understood the importance of the public sector to the community. Why, Mrs Carnell, are we back here six months down the track? This Government does not seem interested in working with the community for the community. It seems focused on paring back the public sector while on a collision course of reform for reform's sake, without any regard to the people supposed to be served and having made a commitment to them.
MR CORBELL (3.58): Mr Speaker, I stood up in this place yesterday evening and spoke about issues to do with job security and the sense of growing insecurity in our city. I also spoke of the growing sense of anger in our community against this Government. At the time the Chief Minister threw back at me a whole list of statistical indicators that showed that everyone was happy and that everyone felt secure. Well, Mr Speaker, today, with this motion that we have before us at the moment, I think there is still more confirmation of the growing sense of insecurity in our city and the growing sense of anger in our city, not the least amongst ACT government employees.
What we have before us today is a very simple and straightforward proposition. This Government made a commitment that it would not require involuntary redundancies; that it would not require what are, basically, sackings. Mr Speaker, I note that the decision on this motion will be in the hands of the crossbenchers, as it always is in this chamber, and I hope that Mr Rugendyke will take the opportunity to listen to the debate and not just to the Chief Minister who has already had a chance to put her case before the Assembly. I am sure that Mr Rugendyke always listens to everything that is said in the debate, and I am sure that Mr Rugendyke listens to all members equally, even if the Chief Minister has had an opportunity already to speak on this motion.
Mr Speaker, the fact is that the Government made a commitment and the fact is that the Government is now breaking that commitment. This Government, as Ms Tucker indicated earlier, is entering into a process of breaking down the conditions and rights of employment of people in the ACT government service. It is weakening the ability of the