Page 866 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2006

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I would not mind betting that we will see workplace differentiation. Just imagine Mr Mulcahy and his staff rolling up to Mr Smyth to negotiate the basis on which they will be paid, as opposed, perhaps, to the loyal troops. Mr Stefaniak and Mr Pratt and Mrs Burke will do all right. We will see how keen Mr Mulcahy and Mrs Dunne and Mr Seselja and their staff are in the next round of individual negotiations with Mr Smyth for pay, conditions and staff. During the next round of negotiations in this place it will be fascinating to see how the Liberal Party responds. I might have a thing or two to say about the way in which those negotiations might be conducted and their outcomes as well.

With great respect to Mr Smyth—and I congratulate him and Robyn heartily on the arrival of their child—one of the impacts that we know is a feature of individually negotiated work contracts with women, particularly in the private sector, is that 10 per cent or less of women achieve paid maternity leave. Here, though, with the comfort of a statutory position, office and pay, without any negotiation and an independent arbitrator, the Remuneration Tribunal, Mr Smyth has no difficulty taking a week’s paternity leave. That benefit is provided to less than 10 per cent of women through individual work contracts negotiated in the private sector. Less than 10 per cent of women achieve paid maternity leave. Yet in this place we have a statutory office holder on statutory pay just walking out and taking a week’s paternity leave.

None of the people in the private sector will be getting those benefits in the future. This is the impact of this legislation. That is what it means. Those that have the benefits will keep taking them; those that do not will get nothing.

Population growth

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, the latest statistics show that the ACT’s population grew by only 0.5 per cent in the 12 months to September last year. That was the slowest growth rate in the nation. It was only one-third of the increase in Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia. Even Tasmania grows faster than the ACT. What are the main reasons for the ACT being at the bottom of the scale?

MR STANHOPE: It is true that the ACT has been growing at a slower rate than any other place, jurisdictionally, in Australia. It is interesting that Mrs Dunne quotes statistics from Western Australia and Queensland—two boom economies and, in the case of Queensland, where all our parents are choosing to retire, benefiting enormously from its climate. Queensland is experiencing an enormous resources boom, as is Western Australia. Tasmania is also riding very well on the basis of a rejigged economy and a refocus, particularly on tourism. Good luck to them. Queensland has minerals in the ground—that is why it has grown as fast as it has—plus beautiful sunshine and beaches. Western Australia is, I think at this stage, just a couple of percentage points ahead of Queensland in relation to the power of its mineral industry and resources.

Mrs Dunne did not say, of course, that the ACT’s rate of growth has picked up over the last year. It has actually doubled—from just over 0.2 per cent to 0.5 per cent. It is the same as both New South Wales and South Australia. To that extent it provides some focus or boundary on the issues around population growth. ACT population growth in

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