Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (1 May) . . Page.. 789..
MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):
I do not wish to appear blinded on this issue. I do not want people to think that I do not understand where Mr Howard is trying to lead our country. I do. Mr Howard is looking after big business. He is looking after the people that got him into power and have kept him in power for 11 years. He is making sure that over 100 years of protection for working families is being taken away. I have said before in the Assembly, and I will say it again, that I will keep going for as long as necessary until action is taken.
Mr Howard has moved the scales too far in favour of big business and, in doing so, has created a means for employers to exploit their workers' rights. How is this fair? I challenge any member of this Assembly to strip this down to the core principles of this legislation and tell me how this blatant disregard for workers' rights is fair. I use this opportunity on this day, May Day, to again voice the concerns of the working families of Canberra and the rest of Australia-that voice and this rose together.
Mr Smyth: Get your committee to meet so that they can talk to you.
MR GENTLEMAN: That voice: the voice of the worker; the voice of the average Australian, not Mr Smyth's voice; the voice of every man, woman and child. And this rose: this rose that burns bright of the human rights gained and barriers broken by collective workers; this rose that draws us back in its beauty and strength to the streets of Haymarket, Chicago; to the blood shed by the Haymarket martyrs on that day in 1886; to the blood shed in workshops today all round the country, all around the world, from workplace injuries; to the blood shed today in other workplaces all around Australia, including those in the ACT.
Mark my words: this day, this historic day, marks the beginning of the end for the despotic Howard government and its disgusting WorkChoices legislation. This day paves the way to the federal election where, upon his imminent victory, Mr Rudd will tear up John Howard's evil WorkChoices.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (6.10): I am not sure where Mr Gentleman lives, but I think there have been something like 170,000 new jobs in the last 12 months and there has been real wages growth of about 19 per cent since John Howard came to office. If I remember correctly, under 13 years of Labor it was about 1.2 per cent. So the workers are being looked after because of good governance, the good governance of the Howard government, something which we do not actually get in the ACT from the Stanhope Labor government.
You only have to look at the way they deliver capital works, particularly in the health portfolio. In March 2001, Michael Moore announced that we would build a stepdown facility at the Calvary Hospital. The money was in the budget in May 2001. How long did it take to be built under a Stanhope Labor government? How long was it before it was open for the people of your constituents in the Belconnen area, Mr Speaker? It