Page 3906 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 19 October 2005

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The Australian Council of Trade Unions is convening a national day of action on 15 November. It is anticipated that hundreds of thousands of workers across the country will be united by satellite broadcast. But there is a segment of these workers that will not have to wait for the proposed changes to come through to worry about fines. Building, construction and manufacturing workers face fines of up to $22,000 just for participating in the day.

The head of the new Australian Building and Construction Commission, Mr Nigel Hadgkiss, has sought to rest our unease about the potential fines. Mr Hadgkiss said that, if workers received written permission from their employer, they would be allowed to attend. That is democracy! This is not a school excursion!

WorkChoices and its ugly half brother, the Building Construction Industry Improvement Bill, are designed to destroy workers’ rights, and workers have the right to fight this destruction. The Building Construction Industry Improvement Bill—what another great Orwellian name, I might add—not only outlines the penalties incurred for exercising democracy but also details how workers who refuse to answer questions of the new building police can be sent to jail; that is right, sent to jail because you refuse to incriminate yourself or your colleagues. But unlike criminals, who are given access to legal advice, these men and women will be forced to fend for themselves against the building police. What a world we live in!

WorkChoices and its ugly half brother have drawn criticism from religious groups, from community groups and from academics. It has now drawn criticism from one of the workers featured in part of the $100 million media campaign. Cameron claims that he thought he was part of a safe-work video. He received $13 for his involvement. Two conclusions can be drawn from this: one, the government has had to pay people to appear happy about the proposed changes; and, two, when the money does not work: lie, lie, lie.

These changes are not about workers and their families, and I have said in this place this week these changes are not about businesses. These changes are about the ideological dreams of John Howard. I say that these changes are a nightmare—a nightmare that our children and our grandchildren will have to pay the penalty for.

Wakakirri story dance competition

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (6.19): I promise the house that I will be brief. Ms Porter raised the issue of the Wakakirri finals last Friday night. It was, indeed, my great privilege to attend the Wakakirri finals at the AIS arena on Friday night.

I have previously spoken in this place about my experience back in August as principal-for-a-day at the Wanniassa school, which was a wonderful experience, I would reiterate. While I was there, I was shown a video of the Wanniassa primary school’s part of their entry in the Wakakirri finals for this year and was lucky enough to be able to attend the finals with the Wanniassa school, as their guest I thank them for inviting me along.

The Wanniassa primary school was competing in division 1, the Wakakirri finals being in two divisions—division 1 and division 2, obviously—division 1 being the less

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