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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3352 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

This would have been far more difficult under the old structure. We are committed to achieving this. The Government is not interested in being diverted by what we regard as an absurd suggestion put up by Mr Berry. Really, Mr Berry, what you are proposing here has very serious ramifications, certainly to other workers in the Territory, and especially in asking us to effectively break a law.

Now, Mr Berry, maybe your bringing this matter before the Assembly has got something to do with the timing of the CPSU election, which I understand is going to be held this Friday. There may be a bit of cynicism in what you are proposing here, Mr Berry.

Mr Moore: Cynicism from Wayne?

MR STEFANIAK: Cynicism from Wayne, I suppose so, yes. What I look forward to seeing finalised, Mr Berry, is a very good offer, and a very workable proposal, which will benefit both the bursars and the ACT school system. On this side of the Assembly, Mr Berry, we are interested in achieving a result, rather than being a party to you trying to help some of your mates in the union movement for an election, or whatever. I am not quite sure why you are doing this. Are you just grandstanding? Have a good look at those sections, Mr Berry, and I think you will see quite clearly, if you have not already, that what you are asking us to do is actually break the law.

Mr Berry: You are already doing it.

MR STEFANIAK: I do not think so, Mr Berry. It is quite likely that someone could take the Government to court, and the Government could then be faced with a penalty of up to $10,000. That is a crazy suggestion. Are you asking two ex-policeman to condone something like that? Are you asking the other crossbenchers too? Have you convinced your own party that is a sensible idea? I think that really is very, very stupid, Mr Berry, and I would ask you to think again.

We are now very close to an agreement, after lengthy negotiations. It was a very good process, once everyone started talking properly and exercised a bit of sense. A good work value study was done in terms of the bursars and the department. I think someone else went out to a number of the schools, both small, medium and large, to look first hand at what was the best way of advancing a fair deal for these very valued workers in our system. And for you to come up with your crazy comments about dogs and leashes and balaclavas - - -

Mr Berry: Well, that is what happened, Bill. Did you turn off the television then?

MR STEFANIAK: What absolute rot, Mr Berry. What I look forward to now is a good agreement with our bursars, which gives them a good career structure, recognises the value of their work and which has been worked out in a sane, sensible, civilised and logical way, instead of a rather cheap stunt by you here today in this place.

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