Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 2006) . . Page.. 2534 ..
better health. The statistics show, too, that people at managerial level, depending on their personalities and pre-existing state of health, are more likely to experience better health than the people they manage, especially if they manage those people badly.
There are quite a few issues here. The World Health Organisation, in its study of the social determinants of health—because work is one of the major social determinants in most people’s lives—says that there is no trade-off between health and productivity at work; that improving conditions at work will lead to a healthy work force, which will lead to improved productivity and hence the opportunity to create a healthier, more productive workplace. Obviously, an industrial relations system that sets workers against employers and that disempowers people will have a deleterious effect on their health. I am looking forward to the federal government keeping statistics and monitoring this because, as the World Health Organisation says, ill people mean less productivity. It sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.
I also found in my trawl through the internet a speech by Kathryn Heiler, the national policy adviser to the CFMEU. In it she says that in her work in the mining industry she noticed that the second largest group of people to be identified for retrenchment—obviously, the first were the activists—were the health and safety activists. That is a very interesting thing that might be another ramification of WorkChoices. We need to watch whether it is the people who are actually looking out for occupational health and safety that might be likely to lose their jobs. She also talks about changes in the Tasmanian mining industry, which has a 56-hour condition of employment regime. We only have to think of Beaconsfield to know where that might go. At one of the pits, workers were pulled up at 3 o’clock in the morning and sacked and sent home. We talk about stress in our employment; in the mining industry it could be death.
Mr Gentleman’s motion refers only to the commonwealth and to WorkChoices. He tends to focus on WorkChoices because it is the commonwealth’s legislation. When he talks about workers that are badly affected, he tends to talk about people in private industry or in the commonwealth. There are a lot of examples. It is pretty clear that I am not siding with the Liberals here, but we should not be ideologically bound on these issues. We have to look at what is in there.
I want to know why Mr Gentleman is not standing up here and talking about ACT public school teachers and ACTION bus drivers? Have I heard him speaking out for the taxi drivers? No, because their problem is not the federal government—
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2.30 pm.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts): For the information of members, my colleague the Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Health, Ms Gallagher, is absent due to unavoidable family responsibilities today. I will