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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 2072 ..

Mr Humphries: What have we privatised?

MR BERRY: Mr Half Manager of Government Business, do not interject; get Mr Michael Moore to do it for you now that you have given him half your work. The fact is that the Government has embarked on the privatisation of ACTION from the outset and it has not wavered one bit. So, let us stop that nonsense.

Yesterday Mr Rugendyke asked a question of the Minister. I suggest that he was invited to ask it because it sought some controversial comments from the Minister and he gave them to us. Well, they were wrong. They were wrong, as is clearly set out in the letter to Mr Santi by Mr Thurston which the leader of the Labor Party pointed to in the course of his contribution to this debate.

Mr Speaker, I will be moving an amendment shortly which notes the misleading comments made by the Minister during question time yesterday. That amendment ought to be supported because this Minister gave misleading statements to this Assembly yesterday which he should be taken to task over.

Mr Speaker, this is a typical struggle between a bunch of conservative Liberals attacking the wages and working conditions of bus drivers. It is interesting that Mrs Carnell relies on the editorial of the Canberra Times. The Canberra Times' position on wages and working conditions of unions has not changed for aeons. There is nothing new in that. There is nothing surprising in what they say about industrial conditions for bus drivers.

Ms Carnell: Is it a bit of a right-wing rag?

MR BERRY: There are no surprises in that. There are no surprises in your ideological position either, Chief Minister, though you do your best to hide them. There are important issues at large for the ACT community on this matter because at the end of the day a privatised bus service, and that is what you aim for, will deliver fewer services than are provided by a similar public system. At the end of the day, though, we have to keep in mind that this silly move by this incompetent Minister was aimed at creating a furore in the lead-up to the Federal election and at the same time end up justifying some move to privatisation by the Government.

Paul Osborne and Dave Rugendyke should not support the Government in this move. They will be discredited if they do because there are thousands of commuters who use our bus service who will know and will understand why it is falling apart when the confrontation that the Government hopes to whip up affects them. Mr Speaker, these motions deserve to be supported fully by this Assembly. They are important motions for the future of our bus system. Most importantly, they are about telling this Government how to negotiate with unions and workers in relation to their industrial conditions. This is not the first time that this Government has been taken to task over its incompetent, ideologically driven actions on industrial matters. This is a repeat performance of its hopeless attempts last time around.

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