Page 4211 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2005

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I will have a chat to you outside this place, perhaps, about the steps that you will then take, the nature of the apology that you will then deliver in respect of that advice. Let me tell you here and now, Mr Stefaniak, that you can question and doubt my word, but I am being utterly honest when I say that the decision that I took and the action that the territory took in relation to this matter is fully supported by our legal advice.

You choose not to believe that and you continue to run the issue. You seek to apply pressure to gain access to a piece of legally protected advice that goes to the heart of a matter currently being agitated before a court in the territory in which a number of ACT public servants have a very significant stake. But you do not care. That is my point. You do not care what damage you do to those public servants with such a stake in this matter. At this stage the hearings have concluded, but you do not care.

Mr Mulcahy does not care about the pay or working conditions of ACT public servants. I have seen Mr Smyth in action as an ACT volunteer firefighter. I must say that I would love to be a fly on the wall on those occasions when Mr Smyth socialises or works with other members of the volunteer bushfire brigade who are represented. I wonder at the level of his hypocrisy when he faces them in a firefighting situation. Does he look at those volunteer firefighters and say, “I was in the Assembly today. I was doing my level best to undermine you. I was doing everything I could to ensure that you do not get the protection of the law that you deserve. But here I am, jolly and smiling and laughing.”

We can just see the smile and the jolliness and the jerky little stumping around that he would be doing out there with those very volunteer firefighting officers who have so much at stake in this matter. Then he comes into this place and does everything in his power to ensure that that very person that he was out there jollying up to does not get an opportunity to have the matter agitated that so affects her life and her future. But you do not care. She is expendable. You would not have the guts, the integrity or the courage to walk up to her in that environment and say, “Look, I did my best today to trash you. I did my best today to ensure that you do not get the fair hearing that you deserve before the law, but let’s be friends. It’s nothing personal. I’m trying to trample you into the ground, but it’s nothing personal.” You hypocrite!

Industrial relations

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations. On 2 November, your colleague Mr Berry terminated a meeting with representatives of the Canberra Business Council who had come to see him about improving the ACT workers compensation scheme. His refusal to talk to them apparently was in retribution for the business council’s support of the federal workplace relations changes. Do you see any useful purpose being served by closing the door on Canberra’s peak business organisation?

MS GALLAGHER: I think that the question probably would have been better directed to you, Mr Speaker, as it relates to a decision you made.

Mr Smyth: We want to know what you think.

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