Page 3453 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

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Under us, real wages have risen by 14 per cent; under Labor they rose by a miserable two per cent.

Under us, the minimum wage—

And here is the important thing; this is a social justice agenda that is actually delivering—not the cant and the rhetoric and the “sky is falling” sort of words that we hear from those opposite—

has risen by 12 per cent in real terms; under Hawke and Keating—

under the Labor Party—

it fell by five per cent in real terms.

That is how the union movement and the Labor Party protect the workers. Real wages went down. The record and the facts are there. We are the friends of the Australian worker. We are not engaged in rhetoric for Australian workers: we actually deliver outcomes for their benefit.

It is extraordinary that when the ABS brings these statistics out that just destroy the case of those opposite we are told that the things that are about to occur will bring the world to an end as we know it. It is sheer foolishness to be having a debate about something we know nothing about because we have not seen it yet. It is a case of, “But that is okay. We will keep putting out these fallacies and the rumours. The scaremongering will continue and we will try to justify our own existence, we will try to justify the existence of the union movement about a subject upon which we have not seen the detail.”

Mr Speaker, we have got a broad outline from the federal government and from the minister, Kevin Andrews. A document put out by the federal government rebutting the ACTU’s misleading claims states:

The reforms will:

Retain federal minimum wages and conditions

Retain a role for the AIRC

Retain collective union and non union agreements

Ensure a stronger inspection service.

So they are all staying. The document goes on to state:

The reforms will:

Not cut award wages—

people will not be on less money—

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