Page 3742 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005

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a result of that, questions will then be asked on matters that have already been heard before the court. This is not anticipating anything, or anything that is likely to prejudice the court; that is my submission to you. Rather, these are matters that have already been before the court and, therefore, I would submit that it is a perfectly legitimate question to ask. I just go back to the precedent that we followed in the last Assembly, in this very matter: matters would appear in court, matters would appear in the media as a result of that, questions would be asked in this place and no objection would be taken. There were no problems with that as far you, Mr Speaker, were concerned, and I think this fits squarely in that category.

MR SPEAKER: I am not as experienced as you, Mr Stefaniak, in matters that get before the courts, but I can see that this is evidence that the coroner might be interested in, and it will invite further interest, it seems to me. I think for us to get involved in discussing the matter would be an inappropriate use of question time. It is fair to assume that there might be further interest in these matters and, if you add to that a flavour created by questions in this place, I think there is a risk of prejudicing matters that the Coroners Court might be interested in.

Mr Stefaniak: Mr Speaker, briefly on that: I do note that my colleague’s question was: why did your government take no heed of these warnings? The question of warnings has been well and truly in the public domain, probably for the last 18 months to two years, and I think that would make my colleague’s question relevant.

MR SPEAKER: Far be it from me to anticipate what the coroner might say as a result, though. They might ask the question too. I think this gets too close to the coronial inquest, so I will not allow the question.

Industrial relations

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations. I note the recent media statements by the Prime Minister suggesting that the proposed federal industrial relations changes will improve the economy of Australia and, therefore, the territory. Are you aware of any contrary views?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for the question. I have certainly heard the Prime Minister’s assertions, as everyone in this chamber has—

Mrs Burke: On a point of order: is this matter not referred to on the notice paper currently?

MR SPEAKER: Unless you can draw my attention to something that is on the notice paper, no.

MS GALLAGHER: The Howard government suggests that his changes to unfair dismissal laws will result in job creation. He suggests that the current provisions cause a disincentive to firms taking on new workers and that as many as 77,000 new jobs will be created if the laws no longer apply to small and medium businesses.

He proposes to exempt businesses with under 100 employees from the law. This, of course, would exempt the vast majority of the 100,000 private sector workers currently

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