Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 425 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

If the government wants to reject the nurses union proposition it would have to include in one of the conditions the words "You must get along with Mr Moore, and if you don't get along with Mr Moore we are not going to put your advertising on the pay slips". This is a ridiculous situation. It seems to me extraordinary that we have arrived at a situation where advertising which merely advertises the existence of the Australian Nursing Federation, what they do and how you can contact them to join or contribute to their campaign, does not qualify, yet everything else qualifies, including the advertising of some quality units down the coast. It is an incredible situation that the government is so locked into its dogma on unions that it would automatically refuse this sort of proposition.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I said at the outset this is a motion that should not have come to this Assembly. If the government had been reasonable in the first place, advertising by the Australian Nursing Federation would have been accepted without a murmur and we would not have been addressing the issue today. But the union has been discriminated against because it is a union and therefore we have to take up those issues.

The Australian Nursing Federation has attempted to place an advertisement in public service pay packets. There would have been no difficulty if it had not been a union. If someone says, "We are so and so car yard and we are selling motor cars-if you want to contact us and buy a car, here is our phone number," such an advertisement would be automatically accepted. But it is not a political organisation. It is an organisation interested in workplace affairs in the interests of its members. It is merely trying to advertise to its members through the routinely available advertising media provided by the government at a specified cost.

This motion should be supported for no other reason than on the grounds of fair play. The fact that it is a union that made the application should not even have been considered. There is no way that a union should be discriminated against in this way. The government has taken a clear position not because it has made a declaration against unions or because of some mysterious condition in the guidelines but because of the contentious position that the Australian Nursing Federation has taken. If the Australian Nursing Federation had agreed with the government and was singing its praises then we would have to deduce that the federation would be allowed to advertise. But the federation does not agree with the government and it has taken a contentious position, which means that it does not agree with Mr Moore. This is an extraordinary situation and I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (5.11): Mr Speaker, it does seem to me a little extraordinary that we are standing here today debating what goes on the bottom of ACT government pay slips. I would have thought that there were more important issues that the ACT taxpayer might have expected us to be dealing with today. But apparently this is not the case. Apparently the state of our health system, the quality of our roads and our employment programs are less important than what goes on the bottom of the pay slips, and whether the nurses federation can advertise there.

Mr Berry: No, it is who is allowed to advertise and who is not?

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .