Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 2115 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
I am fully aware that negotiations continue because Mr Thurston sought guidance and I said, "Yes, please continue". We made that quite clear, or I made it quite clear, on the Thursday when we announced that we would look at tendering out, that negotiations should continue. That was the question asked by many of the press that day: "Would you continue?", and I said, "Yes, we would continue". Mr Thurston has continued to do that.
The letter that Mr Stanhope tabled this morning is a document without prejudice. That means that offers are flowing backwards and forwards, but nothing has been agreed to. In fact, in regard to what Mr Rugendyke actually asked, "Have the ACTION bus drivers reached agreement?", I believe that Mr Santi is yet to put any offer to his members. So, in regard to that, no, we have received no firm offers. Then, are we expecting any agreement? I am yet to receive an offer to agree to.
There is certainly no intention to mislead. If you thought I misled, I apologise, but it is certainly quite clear. To clarify that I will table this letter, Mr Speaker. I asked Mr Thurston again before question time, "Do we have a firm offer from the TWU?". Mr Thurston clarifies the fact that the correspondence that Mr Stanhope refers to is without prejudice. That is some of the toing-and-froing that is going on that people have been asking for. The toing-and-froing goes on, but Mr Thurston finishes his letter by saying:
In summary you were correct in saying as yet we have received no firm offers from the TWU. This remains the case now.
I hope that clarifies it somewhat more for you.
Motion of Censure
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (4.56): I seek leave to move a motion of censure against the Minister for Urban Services.
MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I move:
That this Assembly censures Mr Smyth (the Minister for Urban Services) for misleading the Assembly in relation to negotiations between the Transport Workers Union and ACTION.
Mr Speaker, the Minister had an opportunity just now to avoid this motion and I wish he had taken it. I wish he had shown the strength of character and the integrity to acknowledge that yesterday he overstated the case, that he gilded the lily, that he misled the Assembly, because he certainly did. Mr Rugendyke asked a question, and one has some suspicion that the Minister was aware the question was going to be asked. Mr Rugendyke asked - - -