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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2205 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

hypnotise them or drug them or do something like that. The fact of the matter is that these people are going to lose their jobs and many of them are going to find it hard to get work in the future.

I think that this whole process has been cruel and unrefined. These exit lounges, or whatever you like to call them, are a cruel imposition which are designed to force into redundancy people who otherwise might not want to go. I can assure you, Mr Speaker, and members of this Assembly that action will be taken in this place and elsewhere to ensure that the impact of the Government's intentions on these workers is minimised. I think that the approach that the Government has taken has been a most cruel approach and, as I said, it is very coarse and undignified. I think it is quite unacceptable.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (7.40): Mr Speaker, I want to make a very brief contribution to the debate. I was just reminded about redundancies. It is worth reminding the Assembly that the redundancies which have been offered by the Government are all completely voluntary. I have little doubt, on the basis of the reactions so far, that there will be more than enough volunteers very willing to take up the offers made by the Government. In fact, Mr Speaker, based on experience, there will be many people who will be very disappointed if they are unable to take advantage of an offer; in fact, there is sure to be some jockeying for the right to be able to take up one of those offers.

I think it is worth noting for the benefit of the members who were not here during the days of the Labor Government that back in 1993, I think it was, the then Labor Government offered $17m worth of redundancy packaging to people in the workforce at that stage. Apparently their redundancies were tender, caring, compassionate redundancies, whereas for some reason these ones are not.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (7.41): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the budget. I believe that what the Government has set out to achieve here is for the long-term good of the ACT and necessary. It is interesting that the response of the Opposition spokesperson on urban services started with simply puerile attacks on the Chief Minister. It seems to be Labor Party policy, given their obsession with the Chief Minister, that, if you have nothing better to say, you use any opportunity you have to attack her. The basis of Mr Hargreaves' attack on the Chief Minister seemed to be that she has too much money in her budget. He seems to be somewhat at odds with, say, Mr Quinlan, who said that there was not enough money for tourism. It seems that, if you have not got anything better to say, you just make silly comments.

For the benefit of the Opposition, I point out that the Chief Minister has responsibility for business, for employment, for tourism, for the arts and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs. I note the comments earlier from the Leader of the Opposition, who claims that he has a long and abiding interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs. He might mention to Mr Hargreaves that it is important that we fund initiatives, having raised in his speech some issues concerning Aboriginal health. The Chief Minister is also responsible for multicultural affairs, asset management, government-owned enterprises and information technology. It is well and good for Mr Hargreaves to stand and pick out a few little bits that he thinks will amuse or titillate

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