Page 1863 - Week 06 - Thursday, 5 May 2005

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MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (12.16): I thank Dr Foskey for these amendments. As I indicated, the government is happy to support them. The government believes the amendments are quite appropriate. They certainly support and, I believe, enhance the policy outcomes the government was seeking to achieve in controlling the introduction of pest plants.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.16): I would like to echo the sentiments of the Minister for the Environment. I think Dr Foskey’s amendments improve the legislation, and the Liberal opposition will be supporting them.

Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Long Service Leave Amendment Bill 2005

Debate resumed from 10 March 2005, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (12.17): As members are well aware, long service leave used to be a reward. It was an expression of appreciation for long service with a particular employer but has now evolved to become an entitlement enforceable by law.

Instead of strengthening the relationship between long-term employees and the firm with which people are working, Labor’s approach is always to bring about compulsion, to strengthen a division and indeed, in some respects, fuel disharmony between employer and employee. They certainly seek, in my view, to preserve and promote adversity. Reducing the threshold for loyal service will certainly encourage people to move on and, in my view, contributes to higher turnover.

This bill is more of a reflection of that ideological view which, sadly, is so readily embraced in this territory. The bill sounds superficially attractive. It reduces the qualifying time for long service leave from 10 years to seven years of continuous service; it provides for an employee to become eligible for additional long service leave for each five years of service completed after the first seven years, instead of 10 years; it deems that a worker who works for the same employer on a seasonal basis—that is with seasonal breaks—has not had a break in employment and therefore qualifies for long service leave; and it maintains long service leave entitlements for a person who has left an employer and returns to the same employer within two months.

The purpose of the bill, according to the minister, is to bring long service leave in the private sector into line with benefits already enjoyed by ACT public sector workers. The real reason, however, in my view is the necessity for the minister to deliver bounty to the union movement in return for delivering her Labor Party preselection, and for her to shore up support at the next election. The bill is another impost in an increasing list of

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