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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3423 ..

MR BERRY: Yes, sure. I will leave it there and see how others respond and deal with that in due course. I think I touched on most of the issues in any case.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (8.32): Mr Berry has touched on many issues. Unfortunately he does not offer a chronology or a reference to what he is talking about when he is referring to those issues. Let me give you a case.

He referred to WorkCover and said that WorkCover talks about case precedent and gives you the definition. Well, that's interesting, because WorkCover was referring to the current act, not the bill that we have put forward.

He then quoted the ICA and said that the ICA agrees with the 80:20. That again was at a different point of time well before the government put forward its definition of what a worker is. You can put these things forward and you can say that people said this then or people said that, but you have to tell people when it was said in the chronology of the debate and the development of the bill. Mr Berry either refers to the existing bill, which we are not talking about, or to a point in time before the government modified or extended its definition.

He talked about the 80:20 rule coming from the new tax system. Indeed, it does. It is derived from provisions under the new tax system. It allows the Taxation Office to consider the income source of a company to assist in determining whether a company is a genuine contractor.

There are two very important things to take into account here. First and foremost, what Mr Berry proposes adds nothing to the extensive new definition of worker in the government's bill. Secondly, and more importantly, it has the potential to affect somebody who is operating as a sole trader, a sole person in the company structure, who has gone out and got workers compensation. Under Mr Berry's attempts here that person will be covered twice, once by their own company structure and again by the business engaging their services. So to include his amendment here will add to the confusion. It will add to the delay and it will add to the legal cost.

He cites the example of a young fellow who turns up and is told: "We will pay you 20 bucks an hour. We will give you the goodies, but you have to get your own insurance." Under our act that would be covered by the nominal defendant. The nominal defendant would protect the worker. But the nominal defendant would then go after the individual who has broken the law because that person should be insured. We agreed with that. To make it tough on that person we will recover three times the awarded premium.

What Mr Berry puts here is a collage of ramblings from different points of time in the development over the last three years of what we are attempting to do here tonight. I think it is unfortunate that he chooses to take that path. What the government offers is clarity. We will be opposing the amendment.

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