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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 2109 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

I would sincerely trust that this is not what the Government has in mind; that what the Government really has in mind is getting us the best and most cost-effective public bus transport service that we can. I sincerely believe that that is the outcome that is desired at the end of the day.

What I am saying, Mr Speaker, is that the process stinks. Let us just cut the process out. Let us go back to the negotiating table; re-establish the faith that the Transport Workers Union may wish to have in the Government; re-establish the faith in this sort of process. If this is allowed to go ahead the faith in the IRC will be destroyed for all time in this place, totally destroyed. It will show us that if the government of the day does not like the findings of an IRC it just does something completely different.

I am urging Mr Osborne, Mr Rugendyke, Mr Kaine and Ms Tucker to support this motion. All we seek to do is to say, "Stop. Restore the faith". Then maybe at the end of the day we can all agree and we will not all go through this angst yet again.

Motion (by Mr Humphries) proposed:

That the question be divided.

MR OSBORNE (4.34): I will be supporting this mainly because of paragraph (4) of Mr Hargreaves's motion. As I said before, I see no problem with the Government looking at their options. I, like most people, would prefer that they come to some negotiated agreement with the TWU, and I would hope that that will happen in the next month. If I were to support paragraph (4) it would be contrary to Ms Tucker's amended motion which I supported.

I have read paragraph (3) of Mr Hargreaves's motion but I do not particularly know what it means. Perhaps somebody could enlighten me. It seems like a stupid paragraph. I cannot work it out. As I said, I think the Government has a responsibility to continue further negotiations with the union on this because I do not think privatising the service will achieve the desired results that they are hoping for. We have the workplace to consider.

I have to say, Mr Speaker, that the Government has certainly frightened a lot of families. I have received a number of phone calls from wives of the drivers. One lady just found out she was pregnant the other day and rang my office in tears. Obviously this is a very worrying time for the families of the workers out there so I would hope that both sides can negotiate rather than have the sledgehammer approach, the waterfront-type approach that we saw before. In saying that, I am quite happy for the Government to look at the alternatives because, at the end of the day, the ultimate decision will be made here on the floor of the Assembly.

I find Ms Tucker's argument about it wasting money quite interesting, given some of the pointless debates that I have had to sit through in this place which have churned up many thousands of taxpayers' dollars. Mr Speaker, I want to see the two parties continue to negotiate. As I said, I cannot support paragraph (4). I do not really know what paragraph (3) is all about but it does not give me great concern. Mr Speaker, I will be supporting the call by Mr Humphries to have the question divided.

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