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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3355 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

on odd occasions, and I participated in that, and I expected my salary to be docked. Because I felt strongly about the issue, I was still prepared to do it, and that is the case here.

Mr Speaker, the hypocrisy of this motion is extraordinary. Mr Berry was responsible for ensuring that nurses - and "nurses" sounds like "bursars" - who took industrial action when he was Minister had their pay docked. I am sure of it. Let him tell me I am wrong, because I am sure that is the case. In opposition he suddenly changes his view. He suggests that I have gone through a complete change. Not at all, Mr Berry. When you were the Minister I supported the fact that you docked their pay when they were on strike.

This particular motion, even if it were passed by the Assembly, would have to be refused by the Government. In the end that is not my choice. That is the choice of the Chief Minister, and probably a choice of the Cabinet, because we would never do that lightly. It is the same approach that you took as Minister, with your Cabinet and Rosemary Follett. But if you are going to demand something be delivered by the Assembly, then it has to be done by legislation. To suggest, as you do here, that we should break the law is just unacceptable.

MR OSBORNE (11.43): I found it interesting that Mr Berry would argue that there is no offence for breaking the Industrial Relations Act, yet he seems to think that is reason enough to break the law. I recall only a few months ago that, on the issue of the Government breaking the law in relation to the Financial Management Act, where there was no penalty for breaching that law, it was not okay. It is an interesting aside.

Mr Berry: I think it is a different issue.

MR OSBORNE: It is the same issue, Wayne. It is okay for Mr Berry to force the Government to break the law but when they do it - - -


MR OSBORNE: Obviously, Mr Speaker, most of us are sympathetic to the bursars' plight. I am pleased that it appears to be close to being resolved. At the end of the day I cannot support this stunt. It is quite clear that it does breach the Commonwealth Act. The Act says that an employer must not pay an employee for the period for which they have engaged in industrial action. The Act also does not allow an employee to accept payment if it has been offered for that period. While the above points do not automatically constitute an offence, nonetheless, under section 187AD of the Act a fine of up to $10,000 can be imposed on either, or both parties, by the court.

I doubt that the Government would be able to pay the bursars even if this motion were passed. I understand that, at the time that the dispute with the bursars was being formally negotiated, the Government did write to the bursars prior to their action, warning them that they would be stood down for the duration of the action. I understand that most of the bursars went to work, leaving only about 30 or so undertaking action, and the bursars were also warned by Commissioner Deegan about not being paid for the day.

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