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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3356 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, it saddens me that, once again, we are debating a motion which is a complete waste of time. It has been put up by Mr Berry in an attempt to embarrass those who are going to vote against it, when he must have known well beforehand that it would be impossible for the sensible people in this place to support it. It is an impossible motion to support. I fully expect Mr Berry to go on radio today and condemn me - and Mr Rugendyke, if he votes against it - for not supporting the motion, but that is how he operates. It is a motion that cannot be supported. So, Mr Speaker, I have no alternative but to vote against it.

MR QUINLAN (11.46): I had not intended to speak in this debate, and I will not try to add my bush lawyer's opinion or barrack room lawyer's opinion to the others. I have to confess that I did not closely watch the Michael Moore of the past when he was a bit more oatmeal than he is navy blue now. I would have expected a different approach from the image he projected back then.

The pivotal point is whether or not these people were stood down, and whether the Government is consistent in standing down people who impose bans and limitations. If they are not consistent then the hypocrisy that we talk about is over there - because we happen to have a group whom we thought were relatively weak, so we will stand them down. But if the group is stronger, and more ramifications flow back from it, then we will not stand them down. The point needs to be made in this debate that there is hypocrisy in the approach that was taken.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (11.48): Mr Speaker, I have not been here for all of this debate, but I do want to make a contribution based on legal advice which I have received on this matter. I understand that there has been a contention in the house on whether or not it is legal under section 187AA of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 to pay bursars who engage in industrial action. Mr Speaker, the point has been made that the provisions of section 187AA do not amount to an offence, and that is clear on the face of the legislation, and indeed that point is worth making. But my understanding of the term "offence" in that context is "criminal offence".

Mr Berry: An offence against the Industrial Relations Act.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, Mr Speaker, that is not the interpretation I think we would take from that.

Mr Berry: An offence against the Industrial Relations Act.

Mr Moore: We know you are a lawyer, Wayne.

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes. Look, Mr Berry might have better advice than I do.

MR SPEAKER: Order, please! Mr Humphries is explaining a point of law, as I understand.

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