Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3810 ..
MS MacDONALD (continuing):
As the minister said, anybody who has a computer or a telephone, or both, can potentially be set up to become a teleworker doing a whole lot of data processing. My recollection of data processing is that it is incredibly tedious work. A lot of the time women-and it is mostly women-sit in rooms which are not designed for someone sitting in front of a computer screen for eight hours a day with one half-hour break at lunchtime and no tea or coffee breaks and being judged on their output.
That already happens in this town and in other towns. We at least know that those places exist. But in homes not set up to do this work the potential for workplace injuries increases. The home, in general, is not set up as a workplace. Most computer desks at home are not set up appropriately. For short amounts of work they are acceptable, but if you are doing lengthy periods of typing, data processing or telemarketing, you will end up with injuries. You will end up with neck strain and eye strain, with potential for overuse injury.
A few months ago while on my honeymoon, I was in a marketplace in Granada in Spain. I had a meeting with a gentleman from the United States who was from the equivalent of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union in Australia. We were with some friends, one of whom is currently working in my office. David was wearing his "Proud to be union" T-shirt. This guy said, "I work for the clothing union in the United States." We started talking about union issues.
I gave him my card and said, "I am in the Assembly in the ACT. I used to be a union organiser." He was telling us about the Bizet opera Carmen. A woman was thrown out of a cigarette factory because she was organising for the union movement. The man said he had worked with the TCFUA on the Nike campaign. It has been incredibly effective in raising our knowledge about the fact that there are people who are exploited and that the people who make the clothes we wear and the shoes we put on our feet-things that we take as day-to-day givens and pay a lot of money for-are getting virtually no pay for it. I have received an email from this man saying that he has recently set up a clothing company in the United States, together with the union, to make clothing. The workers are paid a proper wage, treated properly and respected for the talented work they do.
I commend the motion.
Amendment agreed to.
MS GALLAGHER (12.25): I thank members for their contribution and support for this very important motion. I respect the Liberal Party's right to view future legislation as it comes on board. There certainly is not any detail. This is not about duplication. The proposed laws would be entirely consistent with those in New South Wales and Victoria.
The Victorian legislation sets a mandatory code. The New South Wales legislation has also accepted recommendations to move to a mandatory code next year. The national code of the Australian Retailers Association is voluntary. I reiterate Ms Tucker's point that there is a need for mandatory codes to protect the ethical retailers. If you do not sign up, you do not have to do anything. This is about establishing a mandatory code. You can either be part of the mandatory code or sign up to the voluntary code. There has been