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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (29 May) . . Page.. 1141..


MR SESELJA (continuing):

We have had complete silence from the Labor Party in response to the issue around Therese Rein's business dealings. Kevin Rudd, after some time, came out with his explanation, but we have not had the usual shrieks from the union movement about evil employers looking to exploit workers and we have not had the usual hysteria from the deputy opposition leader, Ms Gillard, on this issue. In fact, she has been virtually silent on the issue.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, in the past you have been very quick to criticise particular businesses for their business arrangements. It is, in fact, for that flexibility that they have been seeking that they have been criticised. It seems that it has been the very same flexibility that Ms Rein was seeking, although it appears that she may have done it in breach of the law. Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I draw attention to one of your motions in the Assembly noting that the recent WorkChoices changes announced by the federal government are designed to reduce workers' entitlements, particularly in relation to a number of areas, including family-friendly provisions, annual and long service leave, rest and meal breaks, leave loadings and penalty rates.

The workplace changes were not designed to reduce those. The workplace changes were designed to bring flexibility, and it is that very flexibility that Ms Rein was obviously seeking in her common law arrangements. It seems that, under the Labor Party's policy, that would be acceptable. Under common law arrangements, there will be no fairness test there. So it is quite a conundrum for the Labor Party.

I look forward to members opposite, including you, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, getting up and criticising these arrangements in the same way that you would have criticised other businesses. We know that your federal colleagues, in their disgraceful attack on the Lilac City Motor Inn, gave absolutely no opportunity to those business owners to respond and clarify what the arrangements were. That highlights the absolute double standards that the Labor Party has shown on this issue, and its hypocrisy has been shown up.

I want to touch on another issue now. It relates to Todd Carney. I noted with interest reports today that Steve Irwin, the other player who was allegedly involved with Todd Carney, is to be released by the Canberra Raiders as a result of his role in the affair. I do not know whether those reports are true, but I would be concerned if they were because that would demonstrate a bit of a double standard. We had the Chief Minister and we had Mr McIntyre coming out and saying that Todd Carney should not be sacked. I think that is the right thing.

Todd Carney is a young fellow who has done some pretty stupid things and is alleged to have done some pretty stupid things, but I think it is worth giving him a second chance. It is interesting that Mr McIntyre came out and said that it would be like getting rid of a family member. It seems, if the reports today are to be believed, that the same consideration is not going to be extended to Mr Irwin. It seems that they may be looking to get rid of that family member, which would be a disappointing double standard. If Mr Carney is to be given a second chance, clearly Mr Irwin should be as well.


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