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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 October 2005) . . Page.. 3879 ..


Paul Keating were at no stage talking about doing away with all but five of the legislative minimums, and that is what the current federal government is talking about doing.

Mr Corbell made a number of good points. Specifically he talked about unfair dismissal and the disproportionate effect that this would have on the young, women and casual workers. You could go in to work one day and suddenly your employer does not like the colour of your socks and you are out the door for no good reason. Because you are working in a workplace with fewer than 100 employees, you have no redress, unless you want to pay lots of money, lots of dollars to an already wealthy lawyer to take your case to the Federal Court.

Mr Corbell also mentioned the point that the opposition seem to be raising in this debate, that it is about having a job, not about the type of job or the conditions that you get. He said that Labor has never been about that. I could not agree more. That is very much at the heart of this debate, that the current federal government is taking away that basic, underlying principle in Australia of a fair go. It is about—

Mrs Burke: How do you know? You have not seen the legislation yet, Karin.

MS MacDONALD: Mrs Burke, please do not interrupt me. Mr Deputy Speaker, would you remind Mrs Burke of Standing Order 39.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think Mrs Burke will have taken note of the point.

MS MacDONALD: I would rather not waste any more of my time. I thank Dr Foskey for her contribution. She made a couple of very good points. She spoke about women still facing unequal pay and discrimination in the workplace and specifically referred to the issue of childcare. She said that one of her own employees has young children and that those young children often get sick. Dr Foskey provides a flexible workplace but she does not know whether or not others would be as flexible. I could not agree more.

This is not to brag, but I have an employee who has a young child who often gets sick as well. I try to be flexible, and I hope that I am, but most employers out there are not necessarily that flexible.

Mr Mulcahy: Rubbish!

MS MacDONALD: They are not, Mr Mulcahy, and you cannot argue that they are. It brings to mind the time when I was union organiser when a woman whom I represented was sacked because she was pregnant and could not work long hours. Of course, her unfair dismissal claim was upheld. But that would not happen now, Mr Mulcahy, because she worked in a workplace of fewer than 100 employees. To have an unfair dismissal claim upheld now, she would, firstly, have to prove that she had been discriminated against because of the fact that she was pregnant and could not work the lengthy hours and, secondly, find the $30,000 in order to pay a legal representative to take the matter to the Federal Court. That is a preposterous notion!

I have left the best till last, and that, of course, is Mr Mulcahy. He made a comment about having a go at people’s families. I do not believe that actually happened. It is


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