Page 3833 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 19 October 2005

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The position of the federal Labor Party and the ACT Labor Party is that they would like those people whose wages have increased significantly, who have had their conditions maintained, go backwards. They would like to see them go back to how they were under an award or under an enterprise agreement. It is the policy of Ms Gallagher to reduce wages, and this is what we have seen. Certainly, the Keating government did their best to reduce wages. They barely managed to get them to go up in 13 years: 1.2 per cent as opposed to 14 per cent. This is at the heart of the debate. If it is about making people’s lives better, let us do that. I think that a 14 per cent real increase in wages, low interest rates and a job, as opposed to no job, is an increase in conditions.

Members interjecting—

MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, I am struggling to hear myself think.

MR SPEAKER: You should get your colleagues from your own party to stop interjecting as well. Everyone should maintain a bit of order so that Mr Seselja can speak to the motion before the house.

MR SESELJA: I would like to quote Paul Keating’s vision in 1993.

Mr Hargreaves: Your hero.

MR SESELJA: He is certainly a Labor Party hero. He said:

Let me describe the model of industrial relations we are working towards.

It is a model which places primary emphasis on bargaining at the workplace level within a framework of minimum standards provided by arbitral tribunals.

It is a model under which compulsorily arbitrated awards and arbitrated wage increases would be there only as a safety net.

That was Paul Keating endorsing the way that the industrial relations system is going and all we are hearing from federal Labor and from ACT Labor is, “No, we’ll all be rooned if this stuff goes through.” That is the tenor of this motion and that is where we have come to under Ms Porter.

Mr Speaker, I conclude by saying that the system which we have had in the past nine years, which is now being embraced, as I said, by Ms Gallagher, Simon Corbell and, no doubt, many others in the Labor Party, is a system that has been good. We have seen an improvement in working conditions, we have seen an improvement in real wages and we have seen a reduction in unemployment. We are now making further changes that are likely to increase wages and reduce unemployment, but all we hear from federal Labor and all we hear from state and territory Labor is that we will all be ruined and we will go backwards. The record speaks for itself. The record of scaremongering on the other side also speaks for itself, and it just cannot be believed.

This motion is ridiculous. Labor got it wrong in 1996. They are getting it wrong again. It is time for them to rethink their strategy in this area and actually start being honest about

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