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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2268 ..

Mr Humphries: I did not say that.

MR BERRY: I am happy to sit down and let you get up and tell us what you did say so that it is on the record. Would you like to hop up and tell us? Seek leave. I am happy for you to do that. Tell us what you would do if it is "calls".

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer): I seek leave to make a statement about this.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: The convention in this place about directions and about calls is quite clear to members. It has generally been the case that, when a motion calls on the government, requests the government or urges the government to do a certain thing, members do not see in such a motion a requirement that, if not met, would constitute a contempt of the Assembly or an affront to the Assembly.

If members say, "We urge you to do this" and you do not do it, then understandably people will think, "I only urged him to do it and he has not done it. All I can do is urge more strongly next time." On the other hand, it has been conventional and I think generally the case in this place that when the government is directed to do something or required to do something-members use this language all the time in their motions and I know the distinction, Mr Berry-it amounts to a requirement which the government ignores at much higher cost to itself. I am not aware that the government has generally ignored directions. Perhaps there have been occasion when it has occurred, but generally speaking the government takes directions of the Assembly very seriously.

The difference between Mr Osborne's and Mr Berry's motion is whether we want to have the Assembly intervening in industrial relations, making a decision on behalf of a government or, in this case, a statutory authority or a territory-owned corporation in an industrial dispute.

This could go on forever. The Industrial Relations Commission sits many days a year in the ACT to hear industrial disputes, and many of those disputes involve ACT government agencies. Are we going to be involved in dealing with all of those in this process? I remind members that last week Mr Berry urged the Assembly to let these matters be dealt with by the Industrial Relations Commission. Now he is saying, "Forget the commission. We are going to intervene and make a decision about what the appropriate level of redundancies is."

I mentioned before the reason that the forestry workers get a higher redundancy offer. I will proceed when Mr Berry listens to what I have to say. He asked me to answer a question. Now he has walked away. Why did we offer forestry workers a more generous package? The answer is very simple. Forestry jobs are disappearing in the ACT. When government forestry operations continue, there will not be any forestry operations in the ACT. It is a sole industry. It is a monopoly, if you like. It is the only forestry industry to speak of in the ACT.

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