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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 6 Hansard (13 May) . .

Page.. 1758..


Lastly, within countries that have comprehensive employment protections, such as the Scandinavian states, the health of precarious and permanent workers was equivalent. In other words, a supportive labour market in those countries protects precarious workers. While there is a lack of consensus on the causal links of precarious employment on mental health outcomes, the academic studies do not dispute that government policy which protects precarious workers' control over work and job security leads to far better mental health outcomes.

In Australia the range of worker protections that workers are entitled to under Fair Work Australia ensures that people in precarious employment are not threatened by the low job security that removing unfair dismissal protections would result in. The protections this system gives mean that workers are less vulnerable to bullying, exploitation and other forms of workplace mistreatment. If anything, worker protection needs to be more stringent so that psychosocial stress affects as few workers as realistically possible.

The workplace relations framework is a stalking-horse inquiry that the Abbott government will use to try and bring back WorkChoices and strip workers of their rights. Repealing these rights will worsen the mental health of workers in precarious employment, in particular, and put more pressure on welfare and health spending, just as it did when WorkChoices was previously implemented. The current system of workers' rights ensures that workers in precarious employment are happier and less prone to experiencing the higher risks of bullying, work stress and mental illness that workers without these rights suffer.

Motorcycle Riders Association

MR COE (Ginninderra) (6.09): I rise tonight speak about the Motorcycle Riders Association of the ACT, MRA ACT—in particular, their blanket run. The organisation was established in the 1970s to represent motorcycle riders. Its objectives are to represent all riders, irrespective of gender, age, club affiliation or type of powered two-wheeled vehicle they ride, to raise the profile of motorcycling in the broader community, to ensure equal rights to the use of roads and regions of the ACT, to improve road safety for riders and not at the expense of undermining a rider's right to choose, and to engender motorcycling as a safe, efficient and greener alternative form of sustainable transport.

The MRA has been actively involved in lobbying the government on a number of issues relating to motorcycle riding over the years. This includes new and upgraded parking facilities for motorcyclists. The MRA provides advice to government and the community about ways to improve safety for riders, including through upgrades to road signs and training for returning riders.

On Saturday I was pleased to take part in the annual MRA blanket run. For over 30 years the MRA has been bringing together motorcyclists and the community to provide donations of cash, new warm blankets, non-perishable foods and second-hand motorcycle jackets. The donated items are given to the Salvation Army for distribution to people who are homeless or in particular need during the winter months. The funds and donated items provide a good kick-off for the Red Shield Appeal, which is due in just a few weeks time, as I mentioned in the Assembly last week.


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