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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 3657 ..

It is the AHA's belief that Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne will vote with Labor due to it being a popular political decision in the eyes of the general public.

Thank you for your letter outlining the Governments opposition to the Bill and I hope a satisfactory outcome is achieved.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Wilsmore

General Manager

MS TUCKER (6.22): This is quite a difficult issue. We did not find it easy to arrive at the correct course of action. I am well aware that many small businesses, particularly retailers, rely on holiday periods to boost their profitability. I acknowledge that unexpected labour costs are never welcome. But my primary concern is for employees in the weakest bargaining position. I know that federal public servants working back on New Year's Eve will get a bonus. Peter Reith, the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business says, "Good luck to any worker who gets a bit extra".

I know that months ago employees in strong bargaining positions, ranging from banks to hotels, were being offered a holiday or well over double-time-and-a-half. Since then, deals have been done at workplaces all over Canberra. Those of us who enjoy a big night out over the millennium will not begrudge security guards and food and drink providers extra pay. In addition to the massive, well-publicised millennium event in Sydney, we are facing a big one here in Canberra. The Government has invested $600,000 in music, fireworks and entertainment beside the lake from 6pm and has amended the Liquor Regulations Act to make provision for increased frivolity and celebration.

For everyone who can get the day off, it is all there waiting for them. For those who can negotiate a bit of extra money to make working on New Year's Eve worth their while, good luck to them. Most people at the top end of income and lifestyle can organise their time and their resources to suit themselves. What we are looking at here is a few hours' additional holiday for people further down the independent and affluent spectrum.

I recognise that such a holiday will impact more significantly on small businesses most vulnerable to unplanned expenses. I regret that this Bill has come forward so late in the day. But I am not prepared to vote against a Bill that extends equal privileges to employees least able to negotiate benefits that have been extended to everyone else.


(6.24), in reply: I heard on the radio the other day Mr Smyth ask what the Labor Party stood for. It stands for a fair go for all working people. That is one thing we stand for. It was a bit disingenuous of Mr Smyth not to mention that the public holiday does not just apply in Sydney; it applies across New South Wales. People in Queanbeyan, Yass and all the surrounding regions of the ACT will be enjoying this public holiday. There is no reason why workers in the ACT should not enjoy this. Why

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