Page 4849 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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There’s not a lot of evidence that individual contracts produce productivity ... the biggest gains for productivity still revolve around a system which is collective based.

Based on the collective relationship between workers, the unions and employers, we have prospered. That was reinforced by Mr Mulcahy earlier today.

We do not need to look too far to see the impact these types of changes will have on our economy, our productivity and, most importantly, our workers’ rights and entitlements. In 1991 New Zealand, under a conservative government, introduced the New Zealand Employment Contract Act. This act abolished the century-old system of awards; it withdrew government endorsement of collective agreements. This is all sounding a little too familiar, is it not?

Here we are, nearly 15 years since that act came about, and what does New Zealand have to show for it? Workers in some industries experienced a 12 per cent fall in real wage terms over six years. New Zealand became a less equal society, with the gap between the haves and the have-nots widening. There was an overall reduction in real wages, in full-time work and flatter productivity. Clearly, the experiment failed, in economic terms, in social terms, in long-term prosperity. To earn decent wages and to work under decent conditions New Zealand’s youth migrate to Australia because our system works.

The federal government’s argument about productivity is, first and foremost, a furphy. We have seen it in New Zealand and we have heard it from the academics. The federal government needs to open its eyes and ears to the truth. Even Gollum had a moment of self-reflection. The federal government has to acknowledge that it is a furphy. Thank you, Jacqui, for extending my vocabulary with that word.

I call on all members of the Assembly to do the right thing by their constituents and working families in the ACT and support this motion.

Motion agreed to.

Court Procedures (Protection of Public Participation) Amendment Bill 2005

Referral to committee

Debate resumed from 29 June 2005, on motion by Mr Hargreaves:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Motion (by Dr Foskey), by leave, proposed:

That, notwithstanding the provisions of standing order 174:

(1) The Court Procedures (Protection of Public Participation) Amendment Bill 2005 be referred to the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs for inquiry and report; and

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