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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 871 ..

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, even more interestingly, I have also been informed that a union organiser has been telling nurses at Canberra Hospital that a secret deal has been made with the ALP that Labor will grant a 24 per cent pay rise if it gets into government after this year's ACT election.

Mr Hird: How much?

MR MOORE: A 24 per cent increase. There is no doubt that this has a powerful effect-

MR SPEAKER: Order please, Mr Hird. I cannot hear the minister. What did you say, minister?

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I said that I have been informed that one of the union organisers has been telling nurses that Labor will give them a 24 per cent pay rise after the election if they are elected.

Mr Quinlan: It must be true then.

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that this claim has a powerful effect on some nurses to encourage them to forgo the offer that is now on the table and to put it off for the better offer at the end of the year. Of course, that is also necessary to keep the hardline union members on board in this aggressive strategy denying nurses an open vote.

Mr Speaker, one of two things has to be true. Either there is a deal with the ALP or there is not. In the first case, if there is a deal with the ALP to make a 24 per cent pay rise it means we have now discovered that the ALP has made a secret deal to spend another $30 million.

Mr Stanhope: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: could the minister confirm that in addition to the 24 per cent there was also a car each and a block of flats in Tasmania? Could he confirm whether they were attached to the offer as well?

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order, and I did not hear the minister because of the interjections.

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, this is what is being told-

Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: first of all, the minister is expressing an opinion. He is commenting on matters in relation to ALP policy that you have already ruled ministers cannot comment on. He is speculating on ALP policy. I don't know how he can comment on something he is speculating on even if it does fall within his area of ministerial responsibility, which it doesn't.

MR MOORE: You can't ask me for an opinion but I can give you one.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: under the standing orders an opinion cannot be asked for, but I am not sure that the standing orders say that a minister cannot offer an opinion in his answer.

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