Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002

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Parliamentary Record 9


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 27 November 2002 Mr Stirling: I think I can cover all those points. Mr MALEY: I would appreciate that. Mr Stirling: If we look at Collman closely, I think your legal mind will get around it. Mr MALEY: Yes, it was Gallop J and it does not actually say the name of the second judge, but there were two judges, and Gallop J was referred to in this particular decision. I am able to be persuaded that if the minister had a clear understanding of the true purport of the amendment, he would not have put his neck, I suspect, on the chopping block here. I am not saying it was deliberate, but it was certainly reckless, and I think the House has been recklessly misled in terms of the effect of Collmans case and the requirement for this particular amendment. One of the pledges I made in my maiden speech was to do all that I could to ensure that only good law comes in this parliament. This is not good law. In fact, it is bad law and it is bad law for the people of the Northern Territory. It is an amendment, which in my view, will lead to hardship for some Territorians who come within the scope of the Motor Accidents (Compensation) Act. There seems no doubt that you do not want to be injured in a motor vehicle accident in the Northern Territory now. I am quite frankly surprised - and I accept that it would be along party lines and all the usual thing - but I am surprised that none of the drones who support the government have not had a close look at this and gone through it. If they had any real understanding of the issues addressed by the amendment and that change which really goes to the heart of the ongoing compensation aspect, they would not be supporting the amendment. I look forward to the ministers comments in closing, and any comments he is going to make in the committee stage if the legislation gets that far. I indicate the opposition will not be supporting the amendment. Mr WOOD (Nelson): Mr Acting Deputy Speaker, I have to say at the outset that I did not get a briefing on this, so do not hit me when you get up and say: You did not get a briefing. I am telling you I did not g e t... Mr Stirling: Well, if you were interested in it, you ought to. Mr WOOD: I did not get one because there ... Mr Stirling: You ought to if you have an interest in it. Mr WOOD: I normally do, minister. In this case, I did not but that should not prevent me from being able to stand up here and ask questions. As you know, I normally do get briefings but this one I looked at a bit late. It did raise some questions which I simply would like to put and you can, perhaps, give me an explanation. The member for Goyder has mentioned some things and I have a little difficulty with seeing how consistent section 4(c) is with section 5(3) which is the formula. Are the two in conflict? One is saying: We do not take into account the availability of employment, and then that section is saying: Well, we do take into account whether such employment is reasonably available or not. That is just a general question. My other question is how does that section 5(3) work? I am trying to look at the practical side because I did not realise that was what you were trying to do. But you will pick up, if someone could not get employment you were going to basically say: Well, you go down and get unemployment benefits now. If it is recognised that the person could, say, work 5 hours - I do not know, as a motor mechanic - but that is all they could work because they get tired, and in this particular place, there was no job available for him as a motor mechanic: how does that 5 hours that he has been told he can work, work from the point of view of unemployment benefits? If he does receive unemployment benefits, does that affect his earnings? Does Social Security say: What else are you earning? and I say: Well, I am earning some compensation for an accident?, are they conflicting? In other words, does he lose his compensation because he has received unemployment benefits? I am not sure what the mechanism of that is from an unemployment point of view. Can you go to the Social Security ... Mr Stirling: If you are on unemployment benefits and you are picking up money elsewhere and they catch you, you go to jail. It is called fraud. Mr WOOD: But you are saying in here the formula is 40 minus X over 40 multiplied by MA - and MA is the maximum amount payable per week. So the person is entitled to compensation. You are reducing that compensation by the amount of hours this person could possibly work in a job. If that job is not available, then what do you do? Do you go down to Social Security and say: This is what I am doing: I have been told I can work 5 hours in a job I cannot get because it is not available. What do they pay me? Do they pay me a percentage of the unemployment benefits, or do they pay me the whole lot of the unemployment and this compensation section is then totally void? 3076