Page 3846 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 19 October 2005

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those surveyed disagreed with the proposed reforms and only 17 per cent agreed. Gary Morgan has said of the poll:

Despite the mass of publicity, debate and advertising by the Federal Government and the Unions, the opinions of Australians have barely changed since the last Morgan Poll on the Industrial Relations reforms in July of this year. In fact, a slightly higher proportion of Australians now disagree with the Industrial Relations reforms … than disagreed in July ... The percentage of Australians who agree with the reforms (17%) remains unchanged ...

Clearly, the federal government is losing this debate. Despite the government having poured millions into advertising campaigns and glossy brochures, the community is seeing through the spin because community groups and religious groups are joining together to bring the negative impacts of these changes to the attention of the community.

In conclusion, consistent with the calls of the community and church groups, I call on the federal government to guarantee that no Australian worker will be worse off as a result of these changes. However, given the impact these changes will have on minimum wage earners with the scrapping of the no disadvantage test, this is a guarantee that the federal government will not be able to give. I urge all members in this place to support this motion, as our constituents deserve the right to receive a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, and without the threat of being dismissed for spurious reasons.

This motion goes well and truly to the heart of that great Australian concept of a fair go for all, and I commend the motion to the Assembly.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.28 to 2.30 pm


MR SPEAKER: I acknowledge the presence in the gallery of a group of public education teachers as part of a professional development training exercise entitled Celebrating Democracy Week.

Questions without notice

Mental health

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the 2004-05 ACT mental health official visitors annual report makes sobering reading. In it the Official Visitor notes: a lack of beds at the Psychiatric Services Unit at the Canberra Hospital; a lack of beds at Ward 2N at Calvary Hospital; a shortage of nurses and psychiatric specialists; pressure on beds leading to adverse consequences for patients, such as premature discharge and transfer between wards at inappropriate times; and violence and aggression towards staff. Minister, why have you allowed the mental health service in the ACT to fall into such disarray?

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