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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1887..

MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

I hope that all workers from Spotlight stores will have the chance to wear orange and decorate their workplace. For those members of the Assembly who are unaware of what I am referring to, I will enlighten them. A few weeks ago, the proprietors of Spotlight stores across Australia asked all their new employees to sign an Australian workplace agreement, an AWA, that was advertised on their web site for all to see. I have heard all members of the opposition sitting there cheering about the pros of AWAs, but let us see whether they would work for the conditions expected by Spotlight employers.

Firstly, there is the opening paragraph in the agreement, which states that if you did not sign the agreement there would be no employment offered. How is that for choice? Sign it or no employment will be offered. Then there was the offer of having all penalty rates removed. That is right, no overtime for working on weekends and taking time away from their families. Their pay will be undercut by up to $90 a week. The AWA will also remove paid rest breaks, breaks between shifts, maximum and minimum shift lengths and a cap on the number of consecutive days worked. That is being removed. And all of this for an increase of how much? Of two cents above the award wage.

Mr Corbell: How much?

MR GENTLEMAN: Two cents above the award wage. This is a clear attack on workers' rights and families across Australia, especially in our own backyard. Bringing an end to the week of action, I would hope that on our journey to work or travelling round Canberra with our families we will be encouraged to keep an eye out for the sea of orange and I encourage all members to attend any or all of the events being held during the week of action and help support workers' rights and their battle against these draconian laws. Even the federal government has been quoted as saying that these new laws will be used to force down wages and conditions for working families.

Mr John Perrin

Archbishop Francis Carroll

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.04): Mr Speaker, I rise tonight to take time out from the hectic and rather crazy budget period to recognise in the Assembly the lives and contributions of two people who have resided in the ACT.

Firstly, it is with sadness that I reflect on the life of Mr John Perrin, who passed away recently. John Perrin served as Prime Minister Howard's senior adviser on social policy issues, helping over the last nine years to shape the Howard government's social policy agenda. He played a pivotal role in driving many of the major social policy reform programs of the Howard government, including ones related to being tough on drugs, welfare and Medicare improvements, stronger families and communities, family relationship centres, and community-business partnerships.

Recently, he was pivotal also in putting mental health at the forefront of the government's policy agenda. He was committed to social policy, particularly targeting public expenditure most effectively towards people in need. He was a warm and compassionate individual, but could not countenance waste or seeing welfare programs wasted on those who did not really need support.

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