Page 1660 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Mr Coe: You are a tree person.
MR STANHOPE: I am a tree person, even to the point actually of suffering repeated, serial, consistent attacks by a non-tree loving opposition, as a result of my love of trees. As I have put it—and I have pursued the Animal Farm theme—there are the Napoleon trees, which all reside in the arboretum, of course, and there are the snowball trees that actually had been planted by others and formed the remainder of the urban forest. But of course the Napoleon trees are the evil trees because not all trees are equal.
In the context of trees not being on the register, I am not aware at this stage and I have no formal, conclusive advice on the issue that you raise, Ms Le Couteur, in relation to the status of trees. I will have to confirm issues in relation to the status of the tree, whether it was registered or regulated, and, if so, why or why not. I am more than happy to take advice on that and respond to you in full when I have that advice confirmed.
Children—care and protection
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. Minister, on 3 March, during the annual report hearings before the Standing Committee on Health, Community and Social Services, you said:
Our most recent recruitment campaign in the United Kingdom, I am advised, has attracted 36 new case workers to the territory, and we now have our full complement of 105 care and protection workers.
Yesterday’s edition of the Canberra Times noted that you failed to mention anything about the workers you were getting rid of but did quote you as saying that the nine former contractors could not be retained because the budget only allowed for 105 workers. Minister, why did you recruit more British workers than you needed?
MR BARR: The government did not. Mrs Dunne is obviously pursuing an agenda here that is anti British workers. It would appear that Mrs Dunne—Mrs Dunne of all people, in a party that includes Mr Seselja and Mr Doszpot—has a problem with skilled migrants coming into this country. Seriously, Mr Speaker, is Mrs Dunne suggesting that I should have intervened in this merit-based recruitment process and preferred Australian workers over these workers? Is that what she is suggesting? Is that seriously the position that Mrs Dunne is putting? No, it probably is not. Mrs Dunne needs to get herself across the details of this matter. She has had ample opportunity to inform herself. She consistently gets it wrong.
No workers have been retrenched. No workers have been sacked. Can I make that any clearer for the shadow minister? Apparently not, Mr Speaker; apparently it is not possible for Mrs Dunne to understand that when a temporary contract expires—a temporary contract that was put in place only to ensure that there were workers in the position until the new recruits came in—that temporary contract was not a guarantee of ongoing employment and that there would be a merit-based selection, as you would expect for all public sector jobs.