BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders: Order of Business
Dr JOHN KAYE
[2.30 p.m.]: I move:
That standing and sessional orders be suspended to allow a motion to be moved forthwith that Private Members' Business item No. 168 outside the Order of Precedence, relating to TAFE employee conditions, be called on forthwith.
This matter is urgent because the motion relates to the imminent reduction in TAFE workplace conditions. If we do not act now it could be too late to protect TAFE workplace conditions. The New South Wales TAFE system faces massive adverse consequences from proposed reductions in workplace conditions. However, not only will TAFE teachers and the TAFE system suffer; the economy and society will be the victims of poor government policy. The House should at least have the opportunity to express its opposition to the downgrading of conditions for TAFE teachers. We cannot wait for the matter to proceed in the order of precedence. The issue will be resolved too rapidly for us to wait for that. Members should note that on two occasions I have attempted to bring on my motion as formal business under Standing Order 44, and on both occasions it was knocked out by the Government Whip. Indeed, on one occasion it was knocked out by the Government Whip saying, "I object with pleasure."
The Hon. Greg Donnelly:
To you—put that on the record!
Dr JOHN KAYE:
What do you want put on the record?
The Hon. Greg Donnelly:
I objected to you.
Dr JOHN KAYE:
So the Government Whip did not object to my motion; he objected to me personally. It is interesting that the Hon. Greg Donnelly gets pleasure out of objecting to me personally. Nonetheless, the matter is urgent, and I commend the motion for urgency to the House.
The Hon. ROBYN PARKER
[2.32 p.m.]: On behalf of the Liberal-Nationals Coalition I support Dr John Kaye's contention that the motion is urgent. We need to discuss the future of TAFE teachers urgently because they hold the future of New South Wales and our future employees in their hands. In an economic climate in which we need trained people we need the best teaching practices so that employment opportunities are maximised. This motion is urgent because employment opportunities and the employment conditions for TAFE teachers are under threat. At a time when we need to support what TAFE teachers do with our future skilled or semi-skilled workforce the Government is undermining their conditions, although they have already made concessions. TAFE teachers have already negotiated some trade-offs with the Government, yet it seems determined to get at TAFE teachers and casual employees in particular.
It is urgent that we debate this issue. It is important to ensure that TAFE teachers have fair and just conditions. We need to ensure that they can do their job without worrying about their pay and conditions, because they are training young people in the sorts of skills we will need in the future. If the stimulus packages are rolled out we need to ensure that TAFE teachers can concentrate on training young people. TAFE teachers are important to us. This matter is urgent because we are at a point where we will lose many qualified TAFE teachers: it is getting too hard for them to do the job they need to do. They are highly qualified but their motivation is flagging. The Government is undermining their employment opportunities, and all for a small reduction in salary.
The Government fails to recognise the skills of TAFE teachers and that salary increases should be paid without further efficiency gains. TAFE teachers have already given a great deal of ground in terms of efficiency trade-offs. Future educational outcomes should not be dependent on the stress levels of TAFE teachers. So let us have this discussion. Let us talk about the importance of TAFE today because, as I said, TAFE teachers hold the future of our skilled workforce in their hands, and we need to support them. The Liberal-Nationals Coalition supports the matter being debated urgently.
The Hon. PENNY SHARPE
(Parliamentary Secretary) [2.35 p.m.]: The Government opposes the motion being debated urgently for the same reasons that we oppose urgency on every other occasion. There is a full list of private members' business. It is not a coincidence that the Liberals and the Greens have managed to horse-trade their arrangements around urgency today so that honourable members will miss out on discussing something on the Notice Paper
that they wish to discuss, that is, crime prevention. The Government does not believe that this matter is urgent. I urge honourable members to oppose the motion.
Question—That the motion be agreed to—put.
The House divided.
Reverend Dr Moyes
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Della Bosca
Order of Business
Motion of Dr John Kaye agreed to:
That Private Member's Business item No. 168 outside the Order of Precedence be called on forthwith