Page 912 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2006

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any new change to federal industrial relations law is collected and digested, and then it can be deliberated upon.

Let us not forget the purpose and intent here of select committees. I believe that their whole reason for existing is to look into important matters as expeditiously as possible and then report back to the Assembly with outcomes. My call to suspend this committee until March 2007 stands. What may occur between now and that point in time will obviously require observation, but it would appear to be fruitless to continue to meet on a matter on which there is no substantiated evidence to support or warrant the continuation of this select committee at this time.

One has honestly to question whether the continuation of this committee is the best use of already heavily stretched and overburdened resources, both human and financial. Can we seriously say that we are continuing with this committee for Canberrans? Come on! We must, of course, debate this important matter and understand the impacts on the Canberra community once they become fact. At the moment, it is just fiction and no more.

I note with interest that on 2 March 2006 the Chief Minister indicated publicly that the ACT government, along with other state and territory jurisdictions, would intervene in a High Court challenge over the commonwealth’s Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005. The Chief Minister stated in a press release on 2 March 2006 that he was concerned and said:

The new legislation has made fundamental changes to the workplace-relations system in Australia. It contains provisions that are intended to give it exclusive effect, overriding State or Territory industrial laws and laws that generally affect employment—other than long service leave.

He expressed some anxiety that some ACT laws would potentially be affected by work choices, including our Parental Leave (Private Sector Employees) Act 1992 and the Holidays Act 1958. I would agree that some form of investigation should be undertaken to ensure that the rights and entitlements of workers in the territory are not placed under any undue threat. Perhaps the Select Committee on Working Families in the ACT, when it is reconvened at an appropriate time rather than continuing to exist without substantive reason, will be in a much better position to undertake some form of research and report on the impacts on ACT legislation of the work choices legislation.

At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly was put.


Industrial relations

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.00): Mr Speaker, tonight I stand here to reaffirm my commitment as a dedicated member of this ACT government and of the labour movement. This week we have seen the highs and the lows of government. On Tuesday, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope introduced a bill on the rights of same-sex couples to engage in a civil union—yes, finally to allow same-sex couples to have respected

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