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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4263 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

put a long time and a lot of effort in, and therefore you should be entitled to some recompense at the end of your long service with that organisation. It makes the ACT a place of incentive to work, Mr Pratt.

Mr Pratt obviously was not listening to me when I talked about the history of long service leave. He said that long service leave is about working for the one employer. That is not why long service leave came about. People wanted to return to Mother England. People do not do that anymore. They do not pack their bags and spend six weeks on a ship going to England and then coming back to Australia.

In respect of the difference between the ACT and New South Wales, Mr Pratt said, "So what?"What about all the cross-border businesses with employees working between places on both sides of the border? When I was working for the union, New South Wales employees of Grace Bros, which had a store for a number of years in Queanbeyan, had different long service leave entitlements from those of Grace Bros employees in the ACT. There are anomalies that need to be fixed.

Mr Pratt said, "Why tinker with it? Why fix it if it ain't broke?"There are disparities. Therefore, we need to fix them. Mr Pratt said that criticising the Cole royal commission impedes analysis. I dispute that, Mr Pratt. The Cole royal commission is just a reason to attack trade unions. The commission's discussion paper 14 attacks portable long service leave in the construction industry. The commission allowed only two weeks for comment on its discussion papers. So much for analysis. The entire industrial relations system around the country was supposed to make a decision within two weeks of receiving lengthy discussion papers of 71 pages.

Mr Pratt suggested that the Cole royal commission could fix up long service leave conditions within the ACT. That was not the reason for the Cole royal commission. As I have already said, it is a union-bashing exercise. Its purpose is not to fix up long service leave in the ACT.

I dispute Mr Pratt's comment about attacks on business. Most businesses, unfortunately, do not put aside money for long service leave over a length of time. They do not plan for it. They should be planning for it. If they had a centralised fund, it would help them do that.

According to Mr Humphries, the sky is falling and we all going to fall apart if we introduce portable long service leave and fix up conditions for employees-not to mention his conspiracy theories.

I would like to thank Minister Corbell. I am pleased to hear that the government will be rejecting the Cole royal commission and addressing the issues raised in this motion.

I enjoyed the history lesson from Mr Berry. I am always keen to hear more about what has taken place in the past, to inform myself further. I agree with Mr Berry about the need for a universal long service leave fund protecting benefits. Hopefully, this motion will lead to that. (Extension of time granted.)

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