Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (19 August 1981)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (19 August 1981)


Debates for 3rd Assembly 1980 - 1983; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 3rd Assembly 1980 - 1983




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 19 August 1.~9~8~1 ____________ _ they had no such provisions at all, they were useless in guaranteeing minimum standards for workers not covered by awards. We are very pleased to see those acts being repealed and 2 new acts being created in their stead. The member for Nhulunbuy has referred to a number of amendments which we will be moving to tighten them up a little and to make them just that bit more relevant. The Long Service Leave Bill repeals the Long Service Leave Act. The last time this act was amended substantially was one of the last acts of the Legislative Council on the motion of the late Mr Justice Ward, who was the member for Ludmilla at the time. It was a tribute to Dick Ward that he saw a real need to upgrade long service leave legislation in the Northern Territory to bring it in line with legislation which existed elsewhere and, in particular, in the Commonwealth. He took the view that, since many Commonwealth public servants had just been granted long service leave after 10.years, that provision ought to apply to private sector employees in the Northern Territory. It was an important argument at the time because there were so many Commonwealth public servants in the Northern Territory at the time compared with those in private employment. The whole of the Legislative Council agreed with him. Unfortunately, when you look at the act itself, it left probably more unsaid than said. Although it provided long service leave after 10 years, there was another provision that said one had to have 3 months long service leave accrued before one could take it. Most people had to wait 13 and sometimes 14 years before they could take it. There was also a strange transitional clause which had no number. It went to a Supreme Court for a determination and that seems to have left things in limbo as well. It needed amendment. The opposition has been pressing for those amendments and even introduced its own legislation to achieve it. Finally, we are very appreciative that the government has introduced long service leave legislation which will solve those problems. Let me also commend the government for the farsighted attitude it has taken with regard to pro rata long service leave. It is a very significant move to allow pro rata leave after 7 years. We believe that pro rata long service leave should be available after 5 years serivce but to have the government agree to 7 years is certainly a move in the right direction. I would like to comment on clause 10 of the bill. I noticed that the Chief Minister has circulated an amendment to that. It relates to the question of payment for long service leave after a person has completed 10 years service, does not take long service leave, and then, for some reason or another, either dies or terminates his employment. Under the provisions of the bill, the position will be that an employee, after 10 years service, is entitled to have long service leave paid out to him on termination if he terminates otherwise than by death or serious or wilful misconduct. The death provision is settled in clause 11. The question I address myself to is the instance where a person terminates employment for serious or wilful misconduct. I take the view - and I think it is the view expressed in most other state legislation - that once a person has achieved 10 years service, or whatever the qualifying period might be for long service leave, then he is entitled to that long service leave payment. It is a right. It ought not to be able to be taken away from an employee. I know it may be argued that, if an employee does something horrendous, then he ought to be penalised. That may be so, but termination of employment is a fairly severe penalty in any event. We do not believe that a person, having achieved 10 years service with an employee, ought to have his long service leave put at risk. I notice the Chief Minister has proposed an amendment which will mean this will apply only to serious misconduct rather than serious and wilful misconduct. 1305

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