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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 25 October 2018) . . Page.. 4272 ..


MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (12.11): Wow. This is an excellent bill. The idea that government should use every power it has to uphold the law is just common sense to me. Labour has no tolerance for crooks, thieves, shonks, cons or frauds. The only people who have anything to fear from this bill are bad bosses. I say that in the certainty that the Liberals will not be embarrassed about associating themselves with those against this bill, at least, not in comparison with the embarrassment their friends across the lake cause them.

What wonderful evidence this is of our democracy working. Two and a bit years ago, Mr Barr promised to legislate a procurement code. Just over two years ago, Mr Hanson led the Liberal Party in opposing it. Two years ago, the people of Canberra made their choice and voted for parties in favour of a procurement code. Ms Stephen-Smith has invested the time and the energy consulting the community and interested groups about the detail, a rigorous process.

In February, I introduced a private member’s motion on this topic. It passed without opposition. It was a comradely process, I must say. Mr Wall, in that debate, spoke eloquently about his desire to ensure that subcontractors are paid properly, to ensure that local workers are protected from dangerous or unhealthy workplaces, and that we should buy locally. Mrs Dunne has, on many occasions in this place, advocated that government procurement in health should ensure good working conditions. That was very comradely indeed. Yesterday we heard Ms Lee talk passionately about workplace safety and workers’ rights in government procurement in education. Comrades all.

This bill does exactly what everyone says we want, so I was a bit surprised when I read the committee report on this bill and heard Mr Hanson’s further comments today. Mr Hanson’s recommendations seem to represent the same minority that he attracted at the election: big business, the greedy MBA, and the sorts of bosses who prefer not to have their books checked for honesty.

I would like to acknowledge the work of Mr Pettersson and Ms Orr, who were also on the committee. It is quite clear that the committee worked hard to reach consensus, but as has been the case for over a century, the party of the worker has been left to stand up against the party of the bosses.

The Greens deserve credit for standing up for working people, too. Mr Rattenbury today again showed his support for the introduction of this bill and his support for seeing this bill carried through to law.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the many public servants who worked long hours to make the ambitions of the Canberra community for a secure jobs code law a reality.

Having kept an eye on the committee hearings, I can only imagine the bullyboy tactics that the MBA and Chamber of Commerce must have tried out in private consultations. I am glad to see that the workers won out.


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