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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 72 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

If there is truly to be change, I recommend to you that you have a look at that report, have a look at the government's response to that report, which was the standard "accepted in principle", which means "we can't argue with you but we're not going to do it anyway", and really do yourself, your own government and the community organisations out there a service by revisiting the needs of those organisations for information on what government wants in terms of service.

I will close by commenting on confidentiality clauses. I congratulate the government if they fully intend to reverse that process and to minimise confidentiality clauses. At a council of public accounts committees that I attended recently it was quite clear from the research that has been done across Australia that confidentiality clauses in contracts between the public sector and the private sector are almost universally introduced by the public sector; that it is not the private sector that is calling out for this level of confidentiality; and that the natural reticence, I guess, and desire on the part of the public sector to avoid scrutiny seems to be the more common theme.

I trust that from this point on the government is sincere in its reform and sincere in the description of our public service as an asset to Canberra. I think it is. I do not think it is fair for it, even by inference, to be linked to the Bruce Stadium fiasco.

MS TUCKER (4.33): I would like to make a couple of brief comments. I notice that Mr Humphries-I do not know if it was in exactly the same announcement-talked about the fact that he was setting up a women's policy unit. I am always interested in these different initiatives being brought together. I notice that Mrs Burke this morning spoke about as a women being proud to be part of the Liberal Party. So I think there are some issues here that we need to debate further in this place.

If there is a genuine commitment by the Liberals, by this government, to developing a gender awareness across policy development in the ACT, then we have to see these different initiatives linked. I would like to refer to one small part of the WEL election form guide for 1998 on industrial relations, which is certainly part of this discussion with Mr Humphries and the Liberal Party generally linking the concept of deregulation and Australian workplace agreements in the initiative we are now debating.

Women generally occupy lower paid jobs and are more likely to be part time and casual than men. They also tend to work in the services, smaller businesses and lower levels of the public service. They are often not in a position to bargain effectively on their own behalf because of the structures of their employment. There is also the problem of different time needs, with men often trading into longer hours per shift and longer breaks, or shifting hours of employment with no fixed pattern within an overall limit. Where women have children in school or child care, predictability of hours and shorter time spans may be essential as they usually pick up children.

Decentralised bargaining has stayed with men. Recent studies in Australia indicate that where enterprise bargaining has taken place, larger wage increases have occurred in sectors where men work. Men are also more likely to be in agreements that provide for productivity payments. Industries where women work, such as hotels, retail and service industries, have seen smaller wage increases, and wage condition trade-offs. It

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