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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 755 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

is saying in categorical terms, "I am not going to honour the undertakings given by my predecessor." This Chief Minister is saying that all bets are off, and that is just not good enough. It is just not good enough. You have an obligation, Chief Minister, to the bureaucracy that serves under you and provides you with loyal service. You demand their loyalty and for nine tenths of the time you get it, but leaving the people to go is no way of returning the favour,.

I do not care under what regimes people left; this is just not consistent with the undertaking by either Kate Carnell or Rosemary Follett. I think this Assembly ought to uphold that undertaking. We are talking about 20 people and their families who depend on a particularly low wage. We all know that if a minister in this place does one term and gets booted out on his backside because of some odd tsunami going through the place, he is going to walk out with a super payout of $150,000, or of that order. These people are going to be given 20 grand.

Mr Speaker, I do not think we should condone the government flick-passing this to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. We should be saying to the government, "Accept your responsibilities to these people. Acknowledge the fact that Kate Carnell and Rosemary Follett both said that nobody would be kicked out compulsorily."

Mr Humphries: You did.

MR HARGREAVES: The Chief Minister is clearly saying to me that he is not going to uphold the word given by his predecessor. That means that Mr Humphries is going to take personal responsibility for the people that he compulsorily boots out of here. I hope the media picks this up, Mr Speaker, because this is just not on. This Chief Minister is saying now, "Okay, all bets are off when you are not needed any more and we can prove the point, and we have trained you in IT when you are really good at wielding chainsaws. You are gone. Bad luck. See you later." Well, I don't think that's on, and I really and truly hope that other members of the place go along with me.

I have sat in the transit lounge three times and worn the fear of it, Mr Speaker. It is not pleasant. I have worn the political vindictiveness and I have worn the bureaucratic vindictiveness. I survived, fortunately. My heart goes out to these people who are facing this now. If the only thing they have to cling to is that they will not be sacked from a measly $25,000 year job, then I say give it to them. Look after them. We have an obligation to look after them, Mr Speaker.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (12.20): Mr Speaker, I will speak to the amendment. I would like to draw members' attention very briefly to the fact that the amendment Mr Smyth has moved aligns the process that the government will use in respect of these workers with the process that was used by the former Labor government. It will align those two processes. If it was good enough for Labor, it should be good enough for this government as well.

MR KAINE (12.21): I would like to speak briefly to the minister's amendment. I spoke earlier about the necessity for the government to actively assist anybody who might have to change their occupation and seek work elsewhere. I think Mr Hargreaves' comments were very pertinent to that.

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