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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 25 October 2018) . . Page.. 4263 ..


drafting the code for this legislation that the minister ensures that the right to freedom of association and, likewise, the right to non-association is preserved in provisions related to worker induction. This should not be an opportunity for a gratuitous membership drive on behalf of trade unions.

As I have said, this bill illustrates the ideological divide in this parliament and in this city that exists in the industrial relations space. On this side of the chamber we maintain that it will not provide any outcome other than to formalise trade union influence in the government procurement process. We know that the passage of this bill is a fait accompli. However, we will be watching to see how the code itself is drafted and implemented as a disallowable instrument, who the registrar will be and how the implementation of the legislation proceeds. We will be watching closely. Most importantly, we will be monitoring the impacts on local Canberra businesses and the local economy.

It is also worth noting that the inquiry by the economic development committee into this legislation had a number of trade unions appearing. They all had a fairly consistent message: that organisations and businesses that do the right thing and abide by the law will have nothing to worry about. I find that quite rich, coming from some witnesses who appeared before the committee who have frequently been held on charges or sanctioned for breaches. The CFMEU continues to be the worst corporate offender in this country.

Likewise, individuals who made those claims are dealing with some very, very serious charges against them in the court system. I will not go into the detail of those, but there is a great deal of irony that those who want these laws are often the ones who break the laws. It is a bit rich. As I stated in my opening remarks, the opposition will not be supporting the bill at the in-principle stage, but we will seek to make some amendments at the appropriate juncture.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.41): The ACT Greens are pleased to support this bill. I say at the outset that the Greens support fair and safe conditions for ACT workers. We support the government being an exemplary contractor and procurer when it comes to working conditions. The intention of the bill is to ensure that ACT government contracts are awarded to businesses that meet the highest ethical and labour standards. That is a good goal and the Greens entirely agree with it.

The Greens have a history in this place of pushing government to adopt the highest ethical and labour standards. One example is the extensive process that the government has gone through to advance ethical investment, an issue that the Greens have pursued over many years. Similarly, our parliamentary agreements with the Labor Party over a period of 10 years now have progressed standards for workers, ensured additional investment in workplace inspectors and supported an improved certification process for construction projects.

I think the bill before us today sets up workable architecture for achieving this goal of ensuring that government contracts are awarded to businesses that meet the highest ethical and labour standards. It sets up a framework for, in the near future, the adoption of the secure local jobs code, which will provide more key detail to make the


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