Page 3905 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 19 October 2005

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Brassey of Canberra, Delfast, De Neefe Signs, WACO Kwikform, Narona Homes, Event Sound People, Barlens Event Hire, Pirion, Mix 106.3 and the City News. They were supported by ActewAGL—again: well done, Treasurer—Chubb Security Services and Coca-Cola.

The interesting thing is that the teams then went out and raised money. Afterwards, a lot of groups gave free rides or had things for the kids to do—jumping castles, that sort of thing. Rotary were there raising money as well. There was face painting. It really is a tremendous community event.

It cannot be done without the volunteers. A lot of volunteers got there on Saturday and set up. There were tents and marquees everywhere; it was quite an impressive display. Each of the corporate groups was then able to entertain those who had walked. To the volunteers who manned the course, who took the money, who took the registrations, who tallied up the bucks at the end of the day, well done. They are people like Brian Acworth from Westpac and his wife, Jenny, who were there. Brian helped organise the event this year. I think he organises it here in the ACT. His wife, Jenny, was sitting in the counting house, as it were, counting all the money. It was good to see that families were getting involved with this organisation as well.

To all of those who walked: well done. To the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation: best of luck in finding a cure. Hopefully, at the end of that five-year period, perhaps we will not need to have walks on Sundays to find a cure for diabetes; we can then move on to something else.

Industrial relations

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.15): Mr Mulcahy said yesterday that we are at our lowest level of industrial disputation since 1913. On the same day, a protest in Wollongong saw 700 workers, including nurses, firemen and steelworkers, vent their concerns to Prime Minister Howard over the industrial relations proposals; 700 workers made the decision to exercise their democratic right to protest about the changes that are set to reduce workers’ rights and entitlements.

Under the Howard government’s proposals, such actions could be deemed unlawful strike action and, as such, could incur an individual civil penalty of $6,000—$6,000 for standing up for what you believe in. It is $6,000 now. However, as outlined in that wonderful document WorkChoices—please do not excuse my sarcasm—this figure is under review. It only stands to reason, I suppose, that a government determined to reduce workers’ rights and entitlements would increase the penalties for participating in democracy.

I suppose democracy is a term that the Howard government employs only for the purposes of spin and not as a means of governance, for, in a democracy, the Howard government would be required to consult key stakeholders in decisions, such as, in this instance, workers and their representatives; employers and employer groups; organisations that deal with the day-to-day realities of underemployment; and state and territory governments. But the Howard government has not done that. No, the group with the most to lose from these changes, the workers of this country, has not been consulted. So the option left in this democracy is to take your protest to the streets.

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