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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . .

Page.. 3136..


against all as it could not be made against one. Otherwise, it may become necessary for every member of the group against whom the words are alleged to stand up and personally withdraw himself or herself from the accusation.

I think the general practice in this place is that, if an unparliamentary comment is made about a group in this place, it is the same as if it were made against an individual, and I have made rulings along that proposed line. However, on reflecting on Mr Wall's words, and on advice, I think that the words are pretty much lineball. He did not say that the members opposite were dishonest; he said that if they maintained a particular point of view then they would be dishonest. I think there is a conditional sense in that, and on that basis I will not rule it as unparliamentary but I will remind members to be careful of their words.

Industrial relations—workers' rights and conditions

Debate resumed.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health, Minister for Higher Education and Minister for Regional Development) (3.40): I welcome the opportunity to talk on this important motion that Ms Berry has brought to the Assembly today. It goes to issues that are very important in the lives of all Canberrans, whether they are currently in the paid workforce, supporting someone who is in the paid workforce or has retired, or is a young person looking to enter the workforce. We know that having fair and equitable work conditions, a good strong industrial relations system which allows all workers and employers to have a level playing field, and very clear rules and regulations about how workplace employment arrangements should occur is a standard of any modern economy. It is important here in the ACT that we continue to look at ways to support those who are in the workforce and to ensure that peoples' hard fought for work conditions are protected to ensure that people not only get good value for their labour but also that it supports and encourages economic prosperity across the community.

We know that complete labour market deregulation is a bit of a unicorn for the Liberal Party—against rationality and sense, the quest appears to be ongoing. Repeatedly and very clearly the Australian people have said they expect the government to preserve balance in our workplaces. When they have not believed there is balance being provided they have voted against those unfair agendas, none more clearly so than against John Howard's Work Choices changes of 2007. Indeed, you can see how much damage that agenda had impacted on the conservative side of politics when you have Tony Abbot saying, "Work Choices is dead, buried and cremated," and when Joe Hockey is quoted as saying, "We just went too deep. It was a mistake."

Neutral observers have also observed how the balance between market determination and government protection has served our economy well, particularly recently through the global financial crisis. Prior to last year's election, the Liberal Party policy statement made some very moderate commitments about the proposed amendments to the Fair Work Act. It said they would "guarantee workers have the right to access fair flexibility", "give underpaid workers a better deal", "deliver a genuine paid parental


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