Page 1536 - Week 06 - Thursday, 2 July 2020

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work from home and, if that is the case, what genuine efforts have otherwise been made.

It really does seem that the experience that different employees have had, in Services Australia especially but elsewhere too, has been dictated in some cases simply by the generosity or the willingness of their manager to make it work. That is not enough. Public servants talk to each other. They share and they compare experiences. They value a fair approach across the one public service. There needs to be a much greater consistency, a much greater emphasis and much greater intention to provide flexible working arrangements where that is possible, not to just put it in the too-hard basket.

The pandemic is not going anywhere. Just because we are in an enviable position, with no new confirmed cases, does not mean that we should stop thinking about how we can continue to make our workplaces safer, to ensure that we have employees who feel comfortable with their working arrangements, and to ensure that things are working for both the employer and the employee. Honestly, these are goals we should be pursuing no matter whether there is a pandemic or not. I think that has been a view that has been echoed by everyone who has spoken today.

The APS does have a way to go. I wholeheartedly support Mr Gupta’s motion today, especially the call that the Chief Minister write to the Australian Public Service Commissioner to ask that the commonwealth government support flexible working arrangements, and, indeed, better flexible working arrangements, for the Australian public service. They can do better.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

Debate resumed from 26 September 2019, on motion by Mr Ramsay:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (4.23): This is a very important bill that we are discussing today. As we touched on with the debate over the COVID bill this morning, getting the settings right for the election is very important for our democracy. With the COVID bill we were reflecting on the changes we have had to make for the 2020 election to keep the election safe and to enable it to happen in a COVID-safe way. These provisions relate more to longer term operational questions that have been discussed by the committee. They arise from issues that the Electoral Commissioner has identified in their evaluation of the previous election in 2016, so they go to a range of matters that need amendments in order for us to prepare ourselves for the 2020 election.

I am pleased that we are getting to this legislation today. One of the amendments that I am particularly pleased about is the option for people to enrol right up to the close of polls on election day. I think this is a terrific opportunity for people to be able to participate in the democratic process. We often look at America, particularly, where there are real, significant debates about the disenfranchisement of voters. This

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