Page 648 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 22 February 2012

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MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella): Mr Speaker, I seek leave for the same purpose, to explain the slur that was put on my wife.

MR SPEAKER: You claim to have been misrepresented, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: I believe that I have been misrepresented by Mrs Dunne, yes.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, you have leave.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mrs Dunne has asserted that she made remarks about my wife during the preselection. She also said at the same time that I was prepared to trade my job here to advance my wife’s preselection processes. That misrepresents me, I said so at the time, and Mrs Dunne did not include those remarks in her latest statement to this house.

Work Health and Safety (Bullying) Amendment Bill 2011

Debate resumed from 7 December 2011, on motion by Ms Bresnan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (4.14): The government supports the bill proceeding to debate. However, I foreshadow that I do not believe the bill offers the best way forward to deal with bullying. I will be opposing the detail of the bill. As members are aware, the government is fully committed to ensuring the health and safety of all workers in the territory. We have a long history of supporting contemporary workplace safety laws. Indeed, all members of the Assembly have shown their commendable commitment to workplace safety, as was demonstrated through the recent passage of the Work Health and Safety Act.

As I have said in this place and as others on both sides of the chamber have said before me, it is essential for workers to go to work and return home to their families safely. Workers are entitled to be free from harassment and to be free from all forms of bullying in their lives, and most particularly at work. Bullying in any shape or form is unacceptable in modern Australia and the government agrees with the Greens that we need to do all we can to ensure that it does not occur. Much more needs to be done.

While the principles behind this bill are commendable, the government is not convinced that it will add anything to the resources, policies and programs already in place and implemented through WorkSafe ACT, which is already an active regulator in this space. I would remind members that with the making of the nationally harmonised Work Health and Safety Act 2011 the government also reissued the preventing and responding to bullying code of practice.

The bill as it stands seeks to mandate that WorkSafe ACT ensure that a minimum number of inspectors are trained in, or experienced in, dealing with bullying and

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