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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1355 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

squeeze some concessions out of the government and employers. Submissions to the ACCC were the beginning of what continues to be a heartening campaign by community representatives. Here in the ACT the TWU is continuing to fight to ensure the viability and continuation of Kendell services.

The work of the TWU locally was also taken up by unions at a national level. A national website was established by Australian unions to help Ansett employees gain new work. The site is called Ansett Job Assist. If any member of the Assembly has not seen this site, they should do so. This sort of action demonstrates a deep commitment to the people and families affected, a commitment which I feel certain many employees wish the federal government would display.

Ansett workers have been forced through an ordeal which offends the majority of Australians. In looking at the continuing issues here, we should also look at the broader economic impact on allied industries and other workers' jobs. Tens of thousands of jobs are now at stake in hospitality, tourism and retail. Let us look, for example, at Launceston. The LHMU reports that business in the area has plummeted because of the reliance on air travel. This has impacted on wages, which are impacting on families and other parts of society.

There is another issue for workers, not only in the ACT but elsewhere. Under the Liberals' Workplace Relation Act, some unscrupulous employers are reportedly using the crisis as justification for low wages and bad conditions, telling their workers that the Ansett crisis is dictating their employment.

This Assembly has an interest in the progress of events and the outcome following Ansett's demise. It has an economic interest but, far more importantly, it has an interest in the many workers and families who have been affected by a government policy and a failure by the government to act when circumstances demanded an immediate response. It would be fantastic if the federal government in Australia could walk away from the Ansett failure as cleanly as the workers who fought for their jobs and their airline with such passion, commitment and energy. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

MR PRATT (5.47): I stand to speak against this motion, because it is grossly unfair and it will not help or turn around the suffering of those who have lost jobs in Brindabella or anywhere else. Ms MacDonald's attack is emotional and is simply an ideological attack on the federal government. Why this place is being used as a boxing ring for an attack on the federal government is beyond my reasoning.

We in Brindabella understand the pain and the emotion of those suffering because they have lost their jobs. I clearly recall the lengths my colleague Mr Smyth went to last year in meeting for long hours in many places to try to do something for those who were facing emotional and financial collapse as a result of the Ansett collapse.

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