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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 3990 ..


of as an Assembly, who the government has charge of through its minister? Why don’t we do that? Why are the Greens and the Labor Party running interference in this place?

I can just imagine the talk about bad bosses, “the bad bosses exploiting the workers”. The sad reality is that the bad bosses are those members of this government who are, in the union’s words, exploiting the workers. The Greens’ argument seems to be that there is a problem across Australia so it is okay. Who is helping it to happen elsewhere does not matter. It does not matter, does it, Mr Deputy Speaker? It has happened elsewhere, so it is not a problem.

I have spoken to the Australian Education Union. They have no objection to this matter being referred. This sort of myth, this lie that is put out there—that only the Labor Party talks to workers, only the Labor Party talks to unions—is simply not true. I have met with the AEU. I talk to the AEU. We have agreements; we have disagreements. There are things that we passionately agree on; there are things that we disagree on. It is not right to suggest that that is not the case and that it is only the Labor Party they talk to.

As you can see through their actions today, it certainly is not the Labor Party or the Greens that will fully support workers through their union. I have very constructive conversations. I am meeting with the Australian Education Union. We share a lot of things in common. Indeed, some of the ideas that they put forward formed part of the paper that I put out in June about bringing out the best in every child. They were ideas that came from the union which I fully support.

Ironically, only today we heard from the Australian Federal Police Association, who we work with closely. They are, I am sure, incredibly frustrated that police are no longer going to be responding to certain crimes across this town. I know that Mrs Kikkert has been out there working with workers at the jail. I do not think they feel that this is a government that has been supporting them. And I know that that is the case in the health system, with their union.

They are trying to say that this does not matter and that only Labor and the Greens support workers. We see today that that is lip-service; that is a myth. If you want to back up your words with action, support this referral to the Fair Work Ombudsman. Stop taking your workers for granted. That is what you are doing. You are ignoring what the union have said in their report that makes the case that this should be referred to the Fair Work Ombudsman. If a private sector union had made this case in the private sector, this is something that you would be cheering on—going to the Fair Work Ombudsman. We would be right with you, supporting that. The inconsistency in this is extraordinary.

I am disappointed. We will continue to advocate for teachers; we will continue to work hard to pressure this government to support frontline teachers to make sure that there are sufficient teachers across primary schools, early learning and our high schools and colleges so that they can do their job. One thing that is clear is that we all come into this place and say that we value teachers, we value what they do, but the


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