Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2269 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Is building maintenance closing down in the ACT? Of course not. Indeed, the very functions which were performed by Totalcare are being taken over by other companies. Those companies will need workers. So there are very good reasons for differences between the approaches taken with Totalcare and those taken with ACT Forests.

MS TUCKER (11.07): The Greens will be supporting Mr Berry's motion.

Mr Humphries: Of course.

MS TUCKER: Mr Humphries interjects, "Of course." We are consistent. We are interested in social justice. We are interested in fair treatment of people who are casualties of restructuring, as the problem is called, of government services. We are consistently concerned to see the increasing casualisation of the work force across Australian society and in the ACT in particular. We know that that has quite severe social impacts.

The most recent research on poverty in Australia shows that the working poor are now more highly represented than ever before. The working poor are people in casual work or part-time work. Often they are women, although not in this case.

There are some really big social issues. This motion is trying to take a stand on how particular employees are going to be treated when, as the result of the loss of a contract, Totalcare is thrown into a difficult situation. I am not passing judgment on the contracting out. I have had contradictory statements from the government. The first statement from Mr Humphries has since been clarified, if it is not contradictory. At first Mr Humphries said it was a result of the high employee expenses in the public service, but then later, I think in estimates, one of his officials said that that was not a factor in the contract not being awarded to Totalcare; that it was more to do with the nature of the tender that was put forward. I do not know, and I am not going to comment on that aspect of it.

But we know that there are problems with this particular group of workers. All this motion is doing is saying that they should not be forced into redundancy. I do not think they should be forced into redundancy. There should be some opportunity for them to find other employment, to be retrained or whatever, which is what came up in the debate on forestry as a reasonable option. Those people who want to take redundancy should be able to do so, and it needs to be a reasonable redundancy. That is all this motion is saying.

There was discussion about "directs" or "calls on". I cannot recall exactly, but I think the government has chosen to ignore directions. The government will do what the government does. I think it is fairly semantic whether it is "calls on" or "directs". The Chief Minister has just said that he would take a motion that directed him more seriously than one that called on him. So I guess there is an argument for supporting "directs". Personally, I need to check, what we have done in the past with that. I do not recall that the distinction has always been as clear as Mr Humphries said, but maybe he is correct.

Mr Osborne is concerned about directing the government to do anything that will have implications for the budget. As I have said already today, Mr Osborne has done that in the past. He has done that with regulations that he has disallowed. He did it with the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .