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Browne warns dissenting gov’t senators ‘pass it or resign’

At the same time, Browne agreed “no punitive action will be taken” against them for their opposition to the Bill on Monday, and assured that once heard, “real” concerns would be taken onboard in editing the draft legislation.

“We are a democratic institution. I do not believe that there was any intent to injure. But in this case, these senators looked at the Bill, and Cabinet will have to look at those concerns and re-table that Bill at some point. There will be no punitive action… I’m saying categorically that no one will be fired.

“We’ll give them a hearing, and if there are any concerns that are real we’ll make the adjustments. If they are just speculating like others are, then clearly, it will go back unchanged and they will have to pass it or resign,” Browne declared.

The “speculating” to which Browne referred is a charge he leveled at the opposition, in Parliament, for interpreting the government’s intent for the legislation was to “victimize” employees in statutory corporations who did not support policy.

The only clause that was defeated was Clause 7 of the Bill which states: “The Cabinet may, if it considers it in the best interest of public administration, transfer an employee on secondment from one statutory corporation to another statutory corporation, or to the public service.”

Browne also warned that his decision not to take “punitive” action on this occasion was not an indication that his senators should be quick to repeat their actions.

“It’s not that I’m giving them carte blanche that they can hide behind so-called objectivity and to vote down Bills willy-nilly… We’ll be able to hammer out those issues possibly [today] at Cabinet and to find out…how real those concerns are. If they’re just misinterpretations then the Bill will go back to the Senate unchanged,” he said.

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