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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3743 ..

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (5.16): The amendments go a little bit further than the minister outlined. Amendment 20 and amendment 22 are different from the original pieces. Amendment 20 puts in place an executive offer, which we do agree to. Amendment 22 changes proposed new section 33G (2) and includes the concept of mediation, which all parties would agree to, so the Liberal Party will be supporting amendments 5 to 22.

MS DUNDAS (5.17): The ACT Democrats also will be supporting these amendments. We think that it is quite important that amendment 22 be inserted in proposed new section 33G, which makes it quite clear that we are talking about going to arbitration only if the matter is not resolved by mediation beforehand. I guess that was an oversight in the original piece of legislation put forward to us, but I think it is very important in setting up this arbitration system and having a debate about how it will work that we recognise that the arbitration system should kick in only after negotiation has been tried. Hopefully, we will never have to use the arbitration system we are setting up today, that things will work through negotiation, but it is important that we make quite clear that we are working for a negotiated outcome, a mediated outcome, before we sit down with an arbitrator.

Amendments agreed to.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (5.18): Mr Speaker, I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 3765].

This amendment inserts after the paragraph that we have just amended the principle that the arbitrator must have appropriate experience in determining conditions of employment. That might be a statement of the obvious at this point, but if my further amendment gets up it will set the way in which the process of arbitration will be carried out. I think it is important that we have that principle established, particularly if it comes down to negotiation over who should be the arbitrator. This amendment makes clear that the experience that we require first and foremost is in determining conditions of employment, not in some other area.

MS DUNDAS (5.19): Members might have noticed that this amendment is very similar to an amendment which I have circulated and which I will be moving next. The issue, though, is that my amendment would be going into a different section. Mr Smyth's amendment sits in with the provision that the matter being decided by arbitration must be decided by the appropriate arbitrator, whereas I have chosen to put it under section 33G (5), which talks about the principles and rules of the arbitration and says that the principles and rules must include a requirement that the arbitrator has appropriate experience. I am talking about making sure that the arbitrator has appropriate experience in determining conditions of employment. I guess we could have both of these amendments in the legislation, although it would make the legislation quite wordy, but I think my amendment is the more sensible one, because I think it is in the right section. That is all I have to say about that.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (5.20): Mr Speaker, the government will not be supporting Mr Smyth's amendment. It will, however, be supporting the alternative approach proposed by Ms Dundas with an amendment.

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