Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 April 2022) . . Page.. 812 ..
impacts of this pandemic on our workforce and the fact that they are serving a community who are all feeling incredibly stressed and are having a really, really hard time.
I know from having listened to friends who are nurses and midwives over the years just how hard their job is. When you are sitting with a midwife who has had a truly heartbreaking day at work, when you are sitting with a friend who is a nurse in an ED ward who is talking about the pressures of what it is like every shift, when you are listening to friends who are nurses in secure mental health facilities who have experienced occupational violence, you know that it is a really, really difficult job, and I thank all of them for the work that they are doing.
Everyone deserves to have a safe and healthy workplace. When someone has the courage to speak up about safety it is important that we listen, and I am listening. I met with nurses from Dhulwa last week and I heard and understood their concerns. Staff are feeling that they are not respected and not valued. It is important for us to address this, and that is what we would like to do. I have offered to continue those discussions about a process for how we can improve people’s feelings of safety in their workplace, as well as addressing some of those occupational violence issues.
I also note the language that has been used by some in the media and that was repeated by Ms Lee today about killing fields. In a week when we are seeing news about what is happening in Ukraine and we are hearing from the public hearings of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, that kind of language is particularly strong. I would expect that it reflects how strongly people are feeling about their situation at the moment.
But I would also like to quote Margaret Atwood, who said:
War is what happens when language fails.
This is why it is so important that we are able to continue working with representatives for employees to better understand what it is that people are experiencing in their workplace and to work through a process of how we can make those workplaces safer. As long as they are able to continue working through this with us, I am confident that we will be able to find those solutions together.
MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (11.41): It is startling to me that, minutes after Ms Lee introduced a no confidence motion to the Assembly for the Minister of Education and Youth Affairs, for failing to keep students, teachers and communities safe, this Labor-Greens government have got up and given themselves a nice pat on the back for their contribution to work health and safety.
Everything is A-okay, apparently, according to the Labor-Greens spokesman this morning. Minister Gentleman, the Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, voted the Canberra Liberals’ no confidence motion down. His statement this morning spruiking his achievements in work health and safety ignored completely the distressing events at Calwell High School and the Dhulwa Mental Health Unit.