Page 4773 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 13 December 2005

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If the Government is using our money to tell us these facts, they must be right. And, one detail aside, they are. And yet they are also misleading.

On Tuesday the Bureau of Statistics told us very different facts. Its book Australian social trends 2005 reported that for adults in full-time work, hourly ordinary-time earnings were highest for workers on collective (certified) agreements. They averaged $24.10 an hour, compared with $23.30 for those on individual deals, and $16.70 for those on awards.

I am not entirely sure where Mr Seselja got his figures that wages of employees on AWAs are 13 per cent higher than those on certified agreements, but I have at least stated my source of information.

Other employees affected by AWAs are non-managerial staff who, we know, are worse off and, of course, the one group in the community that Mr Seselja often forgets about, women. Statistics taken from the press release of the Minister for Women, Katy Gallagher, show that women are further worse off under AWAs. Department of Workplace Relations, DeWR, figures show that only eight per cent of AWAs registered to date make provision for paid maternity leave; that women on AWAs earn an average of $5.10 an hour less than men; that women covered by collective agreements have an hourly wage rate of 11 per cent above women on registered individual contracts. That is right, 11 per cent above women on secret workplace agreements. Research also suggests that secret contracts offer less flexibility for work and family balance and provide less job satisfaction.

I bring this to the attention of Mr Seselja today, as he has, on several occasions, disagreed with the recommendations on gender equality. Mr Seselja raised opposition to that in the annual report hearings when he asked whether the best person received a position on the ACTION board because of their gender. I again say that I believe that, if we do not target minority groups, then how can we have equality.

I certainly hope that the next time I stand in this chamber to table a report of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment I will not also have to give a closing speech on Mr Seselja’s dissent.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to:

That leave of absence be given to Ms Gallagher (Minister for Education and Training) for this sitting week.


Motion by (Mr Corbell) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

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