Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2285 ..

MR MOORE: Mr Stanhope, on those areas you are simply incorrect. Mr Osborne, the hospital is ready to negotiate and it has been ready to negotiate. In fact, the hospital also has been prepared to set aside normal industrial process and say, "Even though industrial action is taking place at the moment, we are prepared still to sit down with a mediator". It offered a mediating process. It seems to me, Mr Osborne, that that was a very reasonable thing for the hospital to do.

Mr Berry: That was a tactic.

MR MOORE: Mr Berry interjects across the Assembly that that was a tactic. That was not, Mr Berry. Let me tell you how we came to the position that mediation would be a good idea. It included a subcommittee of the Health and Community Care Board to deal with this issue and to come up with the idea of mediation. The subcommittee of that board is chaired by Ms Prue Power. Mr Berry no doubt will remember that Ms Prue Power headed the Nurses Federation for many years through quite a range of industrial disputes in this Territory. Ms Power is now on the board. In fact, because the board was so concerned about the industrial action that was proposed by the federation, it asked her to chair a subcommittee of the board to work with the hospital management in order to try to get a solution. It was a meeting of the committee with Ms Power and others that came up with the idea that we should offer mediation. It was not, as Mr Berry suggests, a stunt. Mr Berry knows, and I know, that Ms Power would not be involved in something that was simply a stunt like that. She would be interested, as indeed is the management of the hospital, in getting to a negotiated solution, if at all possible.

Mr Osborne, please put it in the context of the Industrial Relations Commission saying some weeks ago, "There is room to negotiate. We recommend that you do not take industrial action". From then on the hospital bent over backwards to try to facilitate any form of negotiation, even mediation. The hospital, even at lunchtime today, asked for a meeting with the federation, and Professor Ellwood met with members of the federation to explain exactly what was on the table in terms of mediation and what was meant by mediation. Every single step of the way, the hospital has been bending over backwards to go to the negotiation table, in spite of the fact that industrial action has continued. The pleasing part was that the industrial action did not occur today.

MR OSBORNE: I will have to remember my question after that answer, Mr Speaker. I am always wary of asking Mr Moore questions because it is often just an opportunity for him to throw some punches.

Mr Humphries: Do not ask them then.

MR OSBORNE: I do tend to avoid him as much as possible, Mr Speaker, out of respect, I suppose, more than anything. I take it from that answer, Minister, that this Assembly will need to move that motion, which is on the table for tomorrow, to force you and the hospital to negotiate with the nurses in the current environment. Is that the interpretation of your answer?

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .