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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 972 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Well, all right. I will come back and I will quote you when I get the Hansard, Mr Berry. But you did say words to the effect that this was a major step to be taking and that you would not lightly engage in this happening.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I say to members that this is not a good precedent to set. It is a dangerous precedent to set. We do not have enough information. This has happened without notice. We are doing something which the Assembly has never done before, and for good reason. How are the 17 members of this place to substitute themselves for the industrial relations managers within the department of health, within the Canberra Hospital and indeed within the minister's office? How is that to occur, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker? Clearly, it is not an appropriate process to use. We should handle this matter with the greatest of caution.

Mr Berry said, and I wrote these words down: "It is impossible for us to interfere, intervene in the workplace." Those are the words you actually used, Mr Berry. I wrote them down as you said them. I agree with that. It is impossible for us to do that, particularly when this particular industrial dispute is obviously not a matter of black and white. I say that because already significant numbers of nurses consider it a good offer. They have accepted the offer. (Extension of time granted.) Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, this is not a black and white issue. This is not a case of where the government is clearly attempting, as Mr Berry has said, to crush the nurses, because many of the nurses themselves have accepted the offer. It clearly is not a matter of that kind. It is dangerous to intervene in this circumstance. We already know that a number of nurses want the offer accepted. I think it is a quite fair supposition to make that, as of today, if the matter were put to a vote by nurses there is at least a good chance it would be accepted.

Mr Berry: It has already been put to a vote and it lost.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, it has not been put.

Mr Berry: It has.

MR HUMPHRIES: It has not. It has been put to a meeting of nurses from which some nurses were excluded, Mr Berry.

Mr Berry: There is provision under the legislation-

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Gentlemen, come to order, please. The house will come to order. Remarks will be addressed to the chair.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I will not take any further time. I will simply say that we should not take this step. I think this amendment cannot be properly dealt with today. We ought to get proper advice on what it means and, in particular, I think we should be very wary of the precedent of having the Assembly intervene in industrial negotiations.


(5.04): Mr Humphries is telling us that it is a very dangerous precedent that this Assembly should call on the government to take a certain direction in industrial relations and managing an industrial issue. I think it is quite a significant issue. But after

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