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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2855 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

quickly indeed. And it was probably one of the better sorts of situations I ever faced as minister in terms of industrial relations.

I am interested in the New South Wales figures because I seem to think that EBA put us either right up the top or at least second compared with other states and territories. So I'd be interested to see where you get your figures from there. You might be gilding the lily a bit there, but at any rate that has worked well. You're in that situation now, but I think the points raised by Mr Pratt are very, very pertinent. You could well have done more than leave it to this late stage.

I get very worried when I actually hear the AEU say that they're going to go back to the sort of situation we saw in 1996, which Western Australia had a few years before, where they're considering strike action. Even in 1996 it was a series of "Let's not do certain jobs."And, yes, as Ms Dundas said, that really affected the system. It disappointed students; it disappointed, I think, all of us here; it disappointed the teachers themselves. And that is not a situation I think anyone wanted to find themselves in. That's why the 2000 situation was just so much better, because I think everyone probably had learnt their lesson there.

Here we go, history is repeating itself. You're finding yourself in that sort of situation again, and I really wonder how on earth you could have left it to the last minute to get to the situation where that's actually occurring again. It doesn't sound like you've got very much time.

I appreciate, having been there, the situation you find yourself in, but I think the points made by all the speakers tonight are very, very pertinent. It is a question of balance, but it is a question too of ensuring that fairness is actually done. I think it is a highly pertinent matter of public importance by Mr Pratt, and I think he should be commended for bringing something as important as this to the notice of the Assembly.

Mr QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (8.44): I just want to talk on a couple of tangential issues because I have to say that I really enjoyed Katy Gallagher's lesson in industrial relations 101 delivered to Mr Pratt. Mr Pratt, you haven't had a very good day.

Then you were joined, I think, Mr Pratt, recently by Mr Stefaniak in saying, "These are good times and therefore we should be far more generous than you were."Well, I'll just say this much: if you guys are professing the philosophy that we should set our recurrent budgets on the basis of a boom time and have no thought for year 2 or year 3 down the track, let's hope that the people of the ACT have the good sense to leave you exactly where you are, in la-la land.

On Sunday night, on one of the TV programs, there was some fellow called Peter Costello flying around in a helicopter saying, "Booms do not last forever."He was giving a warning. I'm sure that even Peter Costello would blanch a little if he heard that you want to spend up in the good years and forget what would follow in the bad years.

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