Page 678 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 28 March 2006

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Under the federal government’s view—and the federal government could intervene in this dispute if they chose to—fines would be applied; for taking two hours of stop-work action teachers should be docked four hours pay for their participation. Again, that is something the ACT government does not support.

So, yes, we have already felt the reality of Work Choices and how it is going to operate here. But over the next few months we will see, as it applies to other disputes that may occur in the territory, whether they are with us as the employer or with other employee-employer relationships, the full force of Work Choices legislation on those disputes. Basically, it will mean that employees will have no rights at all to take part in legitimate industrial action. It will be interesting to see, next time the opposition staffers’ CA is negotiated, whether they embrace the full beauty of Work Choices, the full hardship of that law. I doubt it—but we will wait and see.

Sport and recreation—ACTAS scholarships

MR SESELJA: My question is to the acting minister for sport. During the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, 14 athletes from the ACT Academy of Sport competed as part of the Australian team. Despite the success of ACTAS in developing young champions in the ACT, is the Stanhope government proposing to slash the number of ACTAS scholarships?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Seselja has raised the success of Canberrans at the Commonwealth Games. At the outset, I take the opportunity of congratulating them individually. It was a fantastic effort by Canberra and by Canberra-based sporting organisations and institutions to produce 14 commonwealth champions. It is sobering to reflect that had the ACT competed as an individual jurisdiction we would have beaten New Zealand in the medal count—not that I am being personal about New Zealand of course, but it is quite noteworthy.

In the context of this association with our current fantastic sporting success and any budget initiative that the government might be pursuing in the upcoming budget, no decisions have been made. In the context of any decision that the government might be making in relation to service delivery or the structure and operation of the ACT public service, those are matters that will, of course, be revealed when the budget is delivered in the first week of June.

Let me say that not a single decision has been made. I have not received a single representation or position paper from within the ACT public service or from within the Department of Economic Development, which houses sport and rec, to suggest that this is something that should be on the government’s specific or particular agenda. I have received no representations from within government on the matter. I have had no discussions with the functional and strategic review about the issue.

Indeed, I am somewhat perplexed and bemused perhaps by this rash of representations from sporting organisations. I have received calls on the Chief Minister’s talk back. Every second journalist is asking me about it. I am receiving letters and phone calls. As I said this morning, it is not an issue I had given a moment’s thought to until this rash of representations has bedevilled me, to an extent where it has not occurred from any other

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