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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 5050 ..

MR SPEAKER: I am sure that a review of standing orders might take some account of that standing order.

Industrial manslaughter

MR PRATT (5.25): Mr Speaker, I rise to pick up on an issue which the Minister for Industrial Relations raised in her closing speech on the industrial manslaughter bill debate conducted on 27 November. During that speech she challenged me to speak to the families of workplace death victims and justify the Liberal opposition's position on industrial manslaughter. She said:

Mr Pratt, I challenge you, go and speak with Joel's family. You tell them why his death should not be treated with the seriousness it deserves from the Liberal Party.

Similarly, there was a challenge for me to talk to the McGoldrick family. We have deep sympathy for those families and I can assure you, Mr Speaker, and members of this place that we do not underrate the seriousness of those deaths or any other workplace deaths.

Mr Speaker, I will speak to those families if the minister thinks it is important for me to do so. Perhaps the minister would like to organise that. I am quite prepared to put my money where my mouth is. If she asks me to speak to those families then I would consider doing that. So if the minister would like to organise that meeting, I will be quite prepared to speak to them.

Let me point out to the minister that I do not think it is necessary to bring into this place a dynamic that does not necessarily advance the debate. While I would not be happy to do so under those circumstances, I will if necessary speak to the people concerned.

Mr Speaker, as for the minister's claim that she had broad business constituent support for the government position on industrial manslaughter, I have to say that that is quite questionable. I have it on very good authority that the Housing Industry Association, ACT, were not impressed or happy with the claims that they supported the government. Consequently, this means that the amount of support claimed by the government was highly exaggerated. Indeed, I do not think the small business communities were in fact universally very happy at all with the government's legislation.


MRS DUNNE (5.29): Mr Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to echo Mrs Burke's words in support of volunteers and draw the attention of this place to the great work done by volunteers in our electorates. In the last week or so I have attended a number of events at the school of my younger children-the Miles Franklin primary school in Evatt. I want to preface my remarks by saying that this is not an argument for or against government schools.

I think I can say as a parent that I have a broader experience of the education system than anyone else here. Last year I had a child in every level of education, from pre-school to university, and by the time they all complete their schooling, as a family we will have completed 30-child years in each of the government and non-government sectors.

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