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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1162 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: That was my feeling-Mr Berry was anxious not to set a precedent. That is why he worded the motion in the way he did. You know what you need to do if you want to pass the motion in a mandatory form, Mr Berry. I suggest you consider doing that.

MR BERRY: It is as mandatory as you can get. What do we have to put after "mandatory"? Do we have to put "mandatory plus"? What do we have to put after a motion for you to understand that it was a mandatory direction from this Assembly to take action aimed at resolving a serious industrial dispute which was created by your incompetent health minister?

MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, I do not think there is an answer to that. It was not really a question.

MR HUMPHRIES: I look forward to the day when Mr Berry returns to the helm of industrial relations in the territory and we see what wonderful placid industrial relations flow from that. Mr Berry, you know full well what you need to do to make a matter mandatory in this place. I do not need to tell you what to do about that. You know full well yourself.

Average weekly total earnings

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Chief Minister, Mr Humphries. Is the Chief Minister aware of the recent release of the ABS publication titled Employee Earnings and Hours for May 2000? Can the minister advise the Assembly whether this report contains a comparison of average weekly total earnings for workers with Australian workplace agreements and average weekly total earnings for workers with federal collective agreements? Does this report also contain a comparison of the statistics for the ACT?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mrs Burke for that question. Yes, I can provide some information about that, strangely enough. The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday released a report on employee earnings and hours for May 2000. The ABS conducts this survey once every two years. It is a regular occurrence. They compared the outcomes for employees using Australian workplace agreements and employees under other arrangements. It think it is appropriate to quote this, because I recall that Mr Berry made some statements quite recently about the outcomes for workers using AWAs. He said in November last year:

The Federal Liberals created AWAs to force competition and disunity onto Australian workers to weaken their collective bargaining opportunities.

He also spoke at length about this again in February. The ABS does not seem to have caught up with the realities that Mr Berry is obviously aware of. The survey from the ABS shows that all employees in Australia covered by Australian workplace agreements earned an average of $895.20 per week, while workers under federal enterprise agreements received $711.30 per week. In other words, employees covered by AWAs earn nearly $185 per week more than workers under federal enterprise agreement-a fairly big difference, I would have thought.

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