Page 2902 - Week 09 - Thursday, 18 August 2005

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Mr Mulcahy: There has been a 14 per cent real growth in wages under the Howard government.

MS GALLAGHER: I know that those opposite love the federal government’s proposed reforms. I heard them say during my previous answer, “Justify this. Tell us how these changes are going to be detrimental.” I would argue that the opposition should be telling us, because nobody has been able to say how these changes are going to have a good impact on anyone or how taking unfair dismissal rights away from 100,000 workers in the ACT is going to be good for workers.

Mrs Burke: Unless you have run a business, you will never understand.

MS GALLAGHER: How is stripping back industrial awards going to be good? How is no longer having a no disadvantage test going to be good? How is promoting the use of secret contracts over collective agreements going to be good for ACT workers, or abolishing the powers of the Industrial Relations Commission? No longer will the Industrial Relations Commission be able to check collective agreements to make sure that they meet the no disadvantage test.

Mr Mulcahy: It’s a dinosaur.

MS GALLAGHER: No longer will they be able to resolve disputes on behalf of employees at the request of employers or unions. How is that going to be a good change for ACT workers? I would say that the challenge to the opposition in accepting the federal government’s line that these changes will be good for the ACT is to show us the reasons that the system we have in place now, the protections we have in place now, for working people need to be changed, need to be stripped right back.

Mr Smyth: A 14 per cent real increase in wages in nine years.

Ms MacDonald: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Would you mind reminding particularly Mr Smyth and Mr Mulcahy, and Mrs Burke on occasion, of standing order 39? I think that they have forgotten what it says.

MR SPEAKER: Interjections are highly disorderly, but I thought that the minister was doing pretty well.

MS GALLAGHER: In conclusion, Mr Speaker, details of the bargaining strategy of the ACT government with the public sector unions in such negotiations and the content of what might or might not be in future certified agreements will not be tabled in the Assembly. But I can assure those opposite, because I know that they are concerned, that we will be looking to maintain conditions to protect current employment standards and make sure that the changes that the federal government is seeking to implement across the ACT are addressed by the ACT government in areas that we can. I believe that we will become the employer of choice in the territory.

Health—elective surgery

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the June patient activity data sets tabled by you the day before yesterday showed that there were

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