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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3390 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The concept given to me at lunchtime by those two Ministers' offices was the concept of core duties. That is in the press release from the Chief Minister as well as in an explanation about why the bursars are in trouble. The bans by some bursars were in relation to submitting financial statements. In other words, they were part of their core duties as bursars. So we see this concept introduced. Now, I cannot find that concept in the law. I have asked if it is there and I have been told by both Ministers' offices, "No, it is an interpretation". So then I asked, "Okay, is that interpretation supported by case law?". As far as they knew, they had to say no.

Mr Humphries: It is a new Act. It is only a couple of years old.

MS TUCKER: It is a new Act, okay. That is the interjection from Mr Humphries. It is a new Act; not supported. So what we have is an interpretation of this new piece of legislation around a concept of core duties. You then have to say, "That must be why the Government does not see itself as breaking the law that has been outlined today - because they are using the concept of core duties". So the Government is fine so far. They are not breaking the law.

The next question has to be: "Why can't this concept apply to the bursars?". In fact, it has been applied. It has been applied to the bursars, according to this press release. What we have here is a discussion around what are core duties. As far as I can see, it is perfectly legitimate equally to say that core duties are those duties which you thought you signed onto when you took a job, and if suddenly your responsibilities are increased significantly they are an extra load of duties which have been imposed on you. You could argue that, if you took industrial action which meant you kept doing the duties you thought you were employed to perform but left out some of the new duties, you were in fact doing your core duties. In fact the bursars, so far as I can see, did 99.9 per cent of their duties. The only thing they did not do was press the button to send the financial reports to the department, so it was a small part of their work.

Ms Carnell: Is that all?

MS TUCKER: The interjection is: "Oh, is that all?". Okay, so now we are going to have an argument about whether it is a core duty or it is not.

Mr Stefaniak: Then they were told they had to do their core duties or they would not be paid. They then walked out. It is simple.

MS TUCKER: Well, we can have that discussion.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The house will come to order. Ms Tucker, do not encourage interjections. They are highly disorderly.

MS TUCKER: I am not encouraging interjections. I am trying to speak and I am ignoring the interjections, actually.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes. Well, you have the call.

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