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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 2442 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I am happy to listen to the arguments that Ms Tucker puts forward as to why a union representative ought to be permitted as matter of course if a person nominates such a representative in the event of a panel being constituted.

Under the bill, the Commissioner for Public Administration will establish procedures for selecting the independent officer for the panel. I have circulated a minor government amendment changing the commencement provision to the normal perspective split commencement. This means that the substantive provisions of the bill will commence on a date fixed by the minister by notice in the Gazette.

The original provisions in the bill were drafted with the intention of debate taking place last year and, subject to the view of the Assembly, being operational from 1 January 2001. This did not occur because of changes to the sitting pattern of last year's spring session. Members will recall that a minor bill passed last December continued existing arrangements with the Merit Protection Commissioner, pending consideration of this bill.

Mr Speaker, these amendments are both necessary and straightforward. They are designed to clarify the employment conditions of members staff without affecting those conditions and to preserve existing entitlements within the ACT legislative framework.

Mr Berry described the bill as being ideological. I would suggest that his position has been stated in this place before, which is that union representatives ought to be a part of any dispute panel, irrespective of whether an individual staff member is a member of a union. It is worth reflecting that the overwhelming majority of ACT public servants are not members of unions. It would be quite unfair to impose a condition of union participation in such panels if that was not the wish of the member concerned.

Mr Speaker, I think this arrangement is flexible enough to provide for an appropriate balance between the requirement to have a matter fairly heard and for a member to be satisfied that the panel considering the assessment is independent and capable of making a decision based on the merits rather than any other consideration. I suggest that is not ideological but it reflects simply what would be a sensible management practice in such circumstances.

Question put:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted-

	 Ayes, 11  			Noes, 6

 Mrs Burke  	Mr Osborne  	Mr Berry  	Mr Wood
 Mr Cornwell  	Mr Rugendyke  	Mr Corbell  
 Mr Hird  	Mr Smyth  	Mr Hargreaves  
 Mr Humphries  	Mr Stefaniak  	Mr Quinlan
 Mr Kaine  	Ms Tucker  	Mr Stanhope
 Mr Moore
Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

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