The Government notes the blatant mischaracterisation by GSD MP, Hon Damon Bossino, of debate on the Employment (Bullying at Work) Act 2014.
The GSD has said that, despite warnings about some elements of the drafting of the Bill, it ‘was, however, vehemently defended by the Chief Minister, who presented it to Parliament and in his usual way, was unwilling to accept any possible criticisms or suggestions for improvement.’
In fact, it is FALSE for Mr Bossino to say that the Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, ‘was unwilling to accept any possible criticisms or suggestions for improvement.’
In fact, as the Parliamentary Hansard record shows the complete opposite.
- Mr Picardo accepted and was clear that the Act may require amendment in the future.
‘…I do not discount, Mr Speaker, that we could come back in the future and amend the legislation as a result of the work of the Commencement Committee or otherwise, like every piece of legislation, because we have had bumper pieces of legislation, sources of huge pride for those who them have presented. A new Crimes Act, Mr Speaker, that the Hon. the Minister for Justice, when before he was Leader of the Opposition on that side of the House made, and we have had to amend that, Mr Speaker. We have had to amend a lot of pieces of legislation because things change, because of the operation of the legislation, because legislation needs to be updated. We should be amending more. There are statutes in our Statute Book that require attention because of levels of fines or levels of payments etc, and it maybe that this, which as the hon. Gentleman says is a home-grown piece of 505 legislation, will require amendment in the future. So be it. I do not discount that. It maybe that we need to tighten in some areas that he has suggested that we should loosen. It maybe that we need to loosen in some of the areas he has not suggested that we should loosen. So, Mr Speaker, I think that… and he has even suggested in one particular remark that we should tighten a particular area by the introduction of the concept of reasonableness before a justification. So, Mr Speaker, it may be that all of those things are relevant in the future, but not a reason not to progress with this legislation today. Mr Speaker, if he were genuine in what he was saying… if he were genuine in what he was saying, because he likes to present himself as the genuine face of the GSD, el tio bueno, Mr Speaker, the nice guy, right? Why has he not written to me, and said, ‘Fabian, I really want to support this legislation. This is an important thing that deals with the bullied at work. These are the issues which I think would make the Bill better’? If he were genuine, Mr Speaker, he would have done that and he has not…’
- Hon Mr Picardo asked Hon Mr Bossino to put any proposals for amendment in the proper forum for textual amendments, which is in what is known as ‘the Committee Stage’ of the Bill.
‘…Mr Speaker, I will deal with the issues that the hon. Gentleman raised, as to the detail of the sections of the draft legislation, during the course of the Committee stage and Third Reading if he wants to raise those issues.’
- In fact, Mr Bossino failed to make any such suggestions, in the Committee Stage, which Mr Picardo had said the Government was willing to consider.
The Government is, as ever, respectful of the decision of the Court of Appeal and will take advice on how best to amend the Act in question in light of the findings of the Court.
COMMITTEE STAGE: HANSARD
Employment (Bullying at Work) Bill 2013 – Clauses considered and approved as amended
In Committee of the whole Parliament
Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2013 – Clauses considered and approved
Clerk: A Bill for an Act to prohibit bullying and victimisation in employment and for connected purposes.
Chief Minister (Hon. F R Picardo): Mr Speaker, in respect of this Bill, a letter has been circulated to hon. Members with what I describe as very minor typographical amendments which hon. Members will be 1410 able to see. I think it is being circulated now. They are literally minor typographical amendments. One of them is the typographical amendment that the hon. Gentleman spotted, which was the absence of a little ‘c’ which we will come to, but they are not in any instance a substantive change. They are all typographical.
Hon. D A Feetham: May I suggest that rather than go through… I mean, in the past –
Minister for Education, Telecommunications and Justice (Hon. G H Licudi): Mr Chairman, there is 1420 one further typographical amendment, which is not included in the letter and that is in clause 2, where it defines Minister. It says ‘Minister with responsibility for Employment’. The ‘e’ in Employment should be a small ‘e’ rather than a capital ‘E’. That is just to make it consistent with the way we are drafting legislation and defining ministerial responsibilities.
Mr Chairman: I hope that that can also be incorporated and that when the Act is published, that it will appear there. I mean it has to be monitored.
Clerk: Clauses 1 to 11 and the schedule.
Mr Chairman: Clauses 1 to 11 and the schedule stand part of the Bill. Clerk: The long title.
Mr Chairman: The long title stands part of the Bill.