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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 363 ..

Earth Charter

MS TUCKER (5.14): I want to say something nice about the Government. Mr Humphries is in danger of having a heart attack! I want to commend Brendan Smyth and, I think, Mr Moore for supporting the holding of the Earth Charter in Canberra. I did ask them to a meeting with not much notice to look at the holding of that event. I am very pleased that they came in the way they did and supported it, because it was a very important event for Australia. It is very fortuitous that Canberra was able to host that first meeting. I think there will be more and it is quite appropriate that the national capital was the place where that first forum was held. About 40 other countries are looking at it.

The Earth Charter came out of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It is probably going to end up being a document similar to the UN Convention on Human Rights, although perhaps not with the same enforceability at this stage. But it is going to be a statement of principles which I hope, and many other people hope, will be a unifying statement for people all round the world who recognise the need to take into account much more seriously the impact we have on the earth. I thank the Government for their support for that event.

Consumer Rights : Union Picnic Day

MR BERRY (5.15): Last week, I think it was, I was concerned about a consumer rights issue and I looked up the Internet to find out where I might make some inquiries in relation to the matter. I found a spot on the Internet under "Consumer Rights" and it gave me a telephone number to call about consumer rights - 62070400, a 24-hour service. It was about 6 o'clock when I decided to ring. The message I got back over the telephone was that everybody had gone home and I should ring back in business hours. What I might do now is complain to the Minister responsible for these matters that there has been some false advertising. I am sure that he will investigate the matter and resolve the issue.

The other matter I want to deal with is the long-running attack on union picnic day by the Canberra Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The chamber has been in full attack mode on picnic day since as far back as I can remember. They have invested tens of thousands of dollars, possibly up to $100,000, of their members' contributions into court fights trying to knock off union picnic day, which is covered by a law of this Assembly. One of the most disappointing things about this whole process is that the Government did not even bother to go to the courts to defend this important law for working-class people. Union picnic day means a cheap day out for people who would not otherwise be able to afford it. I suppose one reason why the Government is not interested in it is that it is union picnic day. Philosophically, they would like to see all unions destroyed. But the fact of the matter is that that union picnic day was supported by this Assembly. Again, I express my disappointment that the Government did not defend those laws when the chamber took them to the courts. The chamber have been through all the courts, up to and including the Full Federal Court.

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