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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3716 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

about the way they are being managed, I do not think this is the way to deal with it. It is really a matter of the style of the government of the day, of who they appoint onto these boards and of having an understanding of what they are going to do in relation to these matters.

There is a question, of course, of how independent the boards are from government and whether they are in a sense political arms of the government. Whilst there is a requirement in the legislation to report directions from government, there is not a requirement to report telephone calls or hints and all those sorts of things when the board is not behaving separately from government.

Mr Moore: Is that how you used to operate?

MR BERRY: Mr Moore interjects, "Is that how you used to operate?" Some might say that a good board chair knows exactly what you as a government are thinking; you do not have to tell them. The challenge is to have boards that are independent of government. A classic example of where questions could be raised about that is the CTEC board because there has been a blurring of the lines-spokespeople from both sides have been making statements about certain things. But I do not think this is the way for the board to do it. The way to deal with it, of course, is to see off the people who are the shareholders on behalf of the territory.

Question resolved in the negative.


Motion (by Mr Moore ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Sick leave register

MR BERRY (11.02): I want to draw a disturbing development to the attention of the Assembly, which has made the news in recent weeks. I am referring to what is described as the latest human resources headlines from CCH Australia Ltd. It draws attention to something called the "sick leave register" that is being set up by a labour hire company described as Wayne and Diana's Employment Service. They invite employers to include on this register the number of sick days workers have taken. Then the other employers, who see a list of employees as potential workers can, for a $40 fee, have access to sickie reports on 10 of these workers.

Obviously, concerns have been raised about breach of privacy provisions, and there have been various accusations of what has been described as illegal behaviour. This is a draconian and quite concerning development in labour relations throughout the country, which, in my view, is to be condemned. It is another demonstration of the philosophical position that the Howard government adopts-that is, that the workers are to be blamed for almost everything that goes wrong.

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