Page 3759 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005

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In that respect, of course, we only have to look at the government’s WorkChoices booklet and the now infamous prime ministerial favourite example of Billy, a young worker, who, through the aid of a very talented bargaining agent, gives up public holidays, rest breaks, bonuses, annual leave loadings, allowances, penalty rates and shift overtime loadings, all for no increased conditions, no higher pay rates, but simply to get a foothold in the job market. This is the equation. This is the Prime Minister’s favourite example of how these new, enlightened rules will work in practice: you go off to your work agent and give up everything in your desperation for a job and you get nothing in return, no extra pay. What you achieve is the great privilege of being allowed to say you have got a job. That is about all you get.

Billy, the Prime Minister’s infamous example of how these new rules, these infamous rules, will play out, even with his bargaining agent—

Ms Gallagher: What did his bargaining agent do?

MR STANHOPE: His bargaining agent bargained away his public holidays, his rest breaks, his meal breaks, his bonuses, his penalty rates—that is what his employment agent bargained away; he bargained away the lot and said, “Billy, for goodness sake, what do you want? You have got a job. What more do you want? Billy, you want lunch?” For goodness sake! And the Prime Minister holds this up as the beacon of how these new laws or rules will work in practice and how they will advantage us as a society and as a nation.

As we all know, all the cards are in one hand; it is a lay-down misere for the employer. Mr Howard has now admitted publicly, and without blushing, that this is the future that he sees for young Australians. This is John Howard’s future; this is the future—a future where young people are exploited by unscrupulous employers for the sake of profit. Just to get a job, Billy gives up 40 per cent in additional pay that he might otherwise have been due, plus fundamental entitlements like public holidays and rest breaks. We know we will not get them back.

These are comments that are endorsed by mainstream organisations such as ACOSS—not just by Cardinal Pell and Archbishop Jensen or the Salvation Army, the Uniting Church and the national secretariats for women—and, of course, the ACTU and the Labor Party. The dissenting voice in relation to this clamouring and appalling view that is presented by the community is, of course, the chamber of commerce. One wonders why. They love it. Doesn’t that, in itself, sum up the entire package?


MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Minister for Tourism, Mr Quinlan. From my own observations, and from talking to constituents, it would appear that this year’s Floriade has been very successful and has managed to capture the imagination of locals and visitors alike. Could you please inform the Assembly of any preliminary figures for Floriade? Could you also inform the Assembly about the approach taken by Australian Capital Tourism in putting together this year’s event?

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