Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 October 2018) . . Page.. 4487 ..
chamber, the MPI is an opportunity to reiterate our core belief in the freedom of thought, worship, speech and association.
I will take this opportunity to acknowledge and pay tribute to the many ACT public service employees who have not experienced fair and just freedom of speech rights in the workplace and who are suffering as a result. This is simply not acceptable. I say to those who have felt in any way intimidated enough to not express their opinion in a workplace and beyond that freedom of speech is the ability to share your opinions and ideas without fear of recrimination or censorship. Those opposite would do well to put into practice this action.
MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (3.37): I thank Ms Cheyne for bringing this very important matter forward. The right of freedom of speech is one for which we should all advocate. The right of freedom of speech in our workplaces is something that, unfortunately, in some instances we have to continue to fight for. Of course, this right is something I was taught in school with regard to the Eureka rebellion. I know I often talk about the fact that I left school early, but some things that I was taught at school have stuck with me, and the Eureka rebellion was one such thing.
As I am sure many in this chamber know, the Eureka rebellion was instigated by goldminers in Ballarat, Victoria, who in 1854 revolted against the colonial authority. This was the only way these miners felt their voices could be heard. They were sick of being told how much their licences would cost and how much tax they had to pay and all without the opportunity of support or representation. Sound familiar?
To make their point, the miners sewed a new flag, the Eureka flag. The Eureka flag, a long-time symbol of individuals rising against an unfair government, is now sought to be banned in workplaces by the Liberals across the lake. Yes, you heard me correctly, the Liberal Party of Australia. Earlier this year there was a call from Turnbull—no, wait, I mean Morrison. Actually, I am not really sure which Liberal leader it was; we have had a few. But my point is: the Liberals across the lake are going to ban the right of individuals to freedom of speech in some workplaces by banning the Eureka flag. Unbelievable.
Last week we were speaking about the rights of individuals to have their say. We even passed a bill to protect workers in Canberra by ensuring that when the government buys goods or services we engage only ethical providers. Yes, the secure local jobs code is what I am referring to. The Barr Labor government, with Minister Stephen-Smith at the helm, has made a law that enables workers in the ACT to have the right to be protected in their workplaces, to be able to have their say in their workplaces and, most importantly, to be able to be a proud member of a union in their workplaces.
In this workplace I am a proud union member. In some workplaces that sort of talk is banned. We should not allow our workplaces to become some sort of authoritarian dictatorship where people cannot speak up. We know from so many workplace reports that workers being intimidated against speaking up is so often a contributing factor. We know we have a wage theft crisis across Australia and, yet again, people are too scared to speak up. That is a problem.