Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1793 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
Mr Speaker, this was a promise that was made to the trade union movement and the community generally, and the Public Service generally, before the last election and the Government should be required to observe it. We hear of this nonsense about coming in, tugging the forelock, and begging to the Chief Minister, "I ask you, Chief Minister, would you kindly, please, introduce these provisions?". This is on the shallow basis that you are going to say that you cannot direct departments. Well, you can and you have.
Ms Carnell: I said I do not want to.
MR BERRY: You said you do not want to, but to implement this election promise it is important that you tell them that they must comply with the promise that was given to workers before the election. That is the fundamental issue here. Your amendment suggests that the motion should say "calls on". "Requires" is at least ample. "Requires" is ample because then we are assured that there will be no more weasel words. What we want to get away from is weasel words. "Required" is the proper language, and refuse it at your peril. That is the issue here. The other amendment, which says, "Union agreement will not be required with regards to staff negotiated EBAs", is absolutely unnecessary. It is already there in relation to the clause which you said you would put in all EBAs and all AWAs. If you put that clause which appears in the current agreement in all of your EBAs you have complied with your election promise, and I will be laughing, and so will all the workers in the Public Service. They want the agreement you promised them. That is all they want. They do not want any more.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, would you seek leave to table that paper, please?
MR BERRY: Indeed. Mr Speaker, my apologies. I seek leave, colleagues, to table a document headed "Essential Values, Practices and Terms and Conditions of Employment".
MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak again.
MS TUCKER: I would like to speak to Mrs Carnell's amendment. I will not support it. I find it really interesting that we keep being given this argument that workers have choice. What is unjust about the whole approach from the Liberals in Australia to workplace relations generally is that they are very duplicitous in this argument of choice. The underlying assumption of that argument is that there is an equal power dynamic between the employer and the employee. That clearly is not the case. It is getting less and less the case as people are becoming more and more desperate for work. It is based on a very false premise, and it is quite offensive for that reason.