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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 4296 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

I just want to address something else Mrs Burke said. She said that people know their entitlements. Well, I challenge Mrs Burke to come for a walk with me down to any one of the shops down here. We will talk to any number of people, and I will bet you five bob that they will not be able to tell us their full rate of pay. They would not be able to tell us what they are entitled to; they would not have a clue. Not only do I think that is right; the report Don't bother coming in today, which was compiled by the Australian Young Christian Workers, an organisation not known for its propensity to tell porkies, says that 55 per cent of employees did not know their correct rate of pay. Over half of the people in the casual work force do not know their rate of pay.

Sixty-one per cent have worked while they were sick. You might say that is a good move-but not if they are too sick to work. We do not want to encourage malingerers, but by the same token casual workers are going to work because they are too scared not to.

The report also said that 41 per cent wanted more hours, 26 per cent wanted permanent work and 33 per cent were working unpaid overtime. But the most significant finding was that 55 per cent did not know their rate of pay. This is an appalling state of affairs, and the reason why I bring this forward today is that I am gravely concerned that casuals are being substituted for full-time and permanent part-time workers; we are seeing an increase.

Somebody asked me what I saw as success as a parent. I thought about it for a really long time and then I concluded that the best way I could describe it was to say that I wanted a better world for my kids than the one I have experienced. Well, I walked into a job. After pounding the streets for a number of days, I got a job with David Jones, selling undies. But it was a job. My grandchild has got a job; she ha got a casual job. I worked for David Jones for $32 a week-I thought I was king. I had a great motor car with a stack of free rust in it. My granddaughter has got a casual job but, at the whim of her employer, she can just have no job. That is not a world I want for my grandchildren. I want my grandchildren to have a guaranteed education and guaranteed economic viability, but I want them to get the satisfaction of full-time work. I do not want them to go flicking from job to job to job like a table tennis ball and then to find that they cannot buy a house because they have not got a permanent job.

The people opposite squeak and squawk about affordable housing, yet they are not prepared to make sure that people who are in the casual work force have that guarantee of income, that sense of permanency to be able to go to the bank and say, "Please lend me the money to buy my house because I have found one that is affordable."The attitude of those opposite borders on hypocrisy, and it is dangerously close to that border. I thank members for their support and I look forward to the passage of this motion.

Motion agreed to.

Crimes Amendment Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 24 September 2003, on motion by Mr Cornwell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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