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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2368 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

As late as this morning we had a further request from the Labor Party for an adjournment until next week of the tobacco legislation, which the Government has had on the table now for quite some time, since last year. Requests of this kind are coming frequently from those opposite.

Today the Government asks for the same privilege in return. The Government asks for the right to adjourn the Long Service Leave (Cleaning, Building and Property Services) Bill. We ask for the same privilege to be extended to us that has been extended to people on that side of the chamber and on the crossbenches in the last few days. And what happened? We were told, "No, you are not having an extension on that". We pointed out in the course of these discussions that there is an application before the Industrial Commission today that touches on the issues in this Bill. That is a very good reason, I would have thought, for having an adjournment. Yet we are told, "No, sorry, no adjournment".

What are the rules in this place? When is it all right for a member to ask for an adjournment and when is it not all right to ask for an adjournment? Is it okay to ask for it when you are in the Opposition or on the crossbenches and not okay when you are in the Government? Mr Speaker, what has happened in the last few days, unfortunately, has been a reflection of what has happened for a number of weeks in this Assembly. It has been perfectly all right to adjourn government business. We have had some days when no government business whatsoever has been dealt with. Tuesdays and Thursdays are put aside, theoretically, for government business. Now we find this happening again for this particular session of the Assembly. It simply is not reasonable or equitable, and I think members should reconsider their position.

MR BERRY (12.13): Mr Humphries went to the issue of Mr Smyth requesting an adjournment of the matter currently before the Assembly. Mr Smyth came to me this morning and said that there was a matter before the Industrial Relations Commission in which employers effectively had sought to include a scheme for long service leave in awards in the ACT and that that was a good reason to delay this Bill. It is a disgraceful ruse. You are in concert with the employers to try to stop this from happening.

Mr Smyth, being trained in Mr Reith's office, would know exactly what goes on there. If he looked at the third wave of industrial relations legislation, he would quite easily see that it is the intention of Reith to knock long service out as an allowable matter. Great little game! I would not mind if you people were being fair dinkum about the issue, but when Mr Humphries rose to his feet he said, "We are paying you back because we could not proceed with one of our Bills yesterday". But in this case it is a complete and utter ruse.

The employers ought to be ashamed of themselves. They have been completely dishonest and disingenuous in their approach to workers in the industry. You, Mr Smyth, are in concert with employers and you have engaged in the same sorts of tactics. Hopeless! You have tried to mislead me into believing that something was happening which might well be in the interests of cleaners. It is never going to be in the interests of cleaners. This is merely an attempt to delay the matter, no more than that. You know, Reith knows and the bosses know that it is the intention to knock long service leave back.

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