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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3401 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

He has sought consistency. If there has not been consistency, it would tend to be, I suggest, given what Mr Berry has said, in favour of paying people when they should not have been paid.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Government will have to go away and examine the issues Mr Berry has raised. We are certainly very sensitive about either the reality or the appearance of breaking the law. We are very keen to make sure that any perception that we may have broken the law is addressed very quickly.

In the meantime, the motion that Mr Berry has put on the table is nonsense. It is unhelpful nonsense. It is a stunt. Mr Berry is urging us to pay workers in circumstances where he, as Minister, did not pay workers. I think we need to get away into an environment where we can have a debate which is calm and sensible about this and not use the inflammatory language that Mr Berry has used to introduce his motion. I think we should reject both the amendment and the motion.

MR RUGENDYKE (4.51): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I have yet to speak on the substantive motion, so I will address my remarks to the amendment as well, if that is appropriate.


MR RUGENDYKE: This is a typical Wayne's world stunt where, suddenly, what appears on the notice paper is a motion he knows full well cannot be supported. But it does not matter, does it? The press release was written prior to this.

This morning I started out considering that I would be able to support the motion for the sake of the bursars, who do seem to have been treated poorly. I phoned a couple of bursars I know and I asked them questions about some of the guff that the Government was peddling. It turned out to be untrue. I suggested to them that I would have to take account of what the Chief Minister said on radio as I was driving in, but I would have a go for them. However, when I look at section 187AA and the rest of it it is quite clear and unequivocal that it is not possible, not reasonable and not parliamentary to support a motion that forces the Government to break a law. It might well be the case that Mr Berry does not like this particular law, but how can I be asked to force the Government to break the law?

I sought my own legal advice this morning, looking for a way to work around section 187AA to see whether the bursars could be helped in this matter. A long bow drawn by my legal adviser was to find out whether or not there is a possibility that the bursars had been stood down as a result of disciplinary action rather than industrial action. So I asked Mr Berry, "What was it, industrial action or disciplinary action?". The reply was: "No, no; it was industrial action". So that took away that option. I cannot argue for the bursars that maybe they were stood down for disciplinary reasons.

Mr Berry: They have not been disciplined.

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