Page 87 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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funding of $4.84 million to ACTION for an additional 11 new compressed natural gas buses. For me, 2005 marks 12 months in office. It marked a year as Chair of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment and deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People.

The year 2005 also saw the formation of the Select Committee on Working Families in the ACT. Again, the ACT Legislative Assembly has led the way in supporting transparency of government and the legislation affecting ordinary Canberrans. I am very proud of my involvement with this committee. I am proud that we in this Assembly have given the people of Canberra the opportunity to voice their views about the greatest change to industrial relations since federation.

But what do our colleagues in the opposition have to be proud of in 2005? Mr Mulcahy can be proud of his position on Australian workplace agreements. Mr Mulcahy believes that Australian workplace agreements have “in fact been of huge benefit to workers”. Mr Mulcahy should be aware that a small army of aircraft fitters at Boeing’s Williamstown RAAF maintenance plant do not agree with him. On 31 December, as we were all preparing to count down to the new year, those workers were in their 221st day on the picket line. They are fighting for their right to an enterprise agreement to replace Mr Mulcahy’s so-called “beneficial contract”.

But wait, there is more! Mr Mulcahy was delighted to speak to a matter of public importance on the impact of the federal government’s WorkChoices policy announcements on the Canberra community because “they are indeed welcome and positive in terms of the impact they will have, not only in the ACT community, but on the Australian community at large”.

By contrast, his former frontbench colleague, Mrs Dunne, thought this opportunity, in the form of the Select Committee on Working Families in the ACT, was “just a rhetorical flourish by those opposite as an opportunity to bash the commonwealth”. Those views were reiterated by committee member Mrs Burke who, by coincidence, now sits in Mrs Dunne’s vacated position on the opposition’s front bench. What proud moments for 2005! Slap after proverbial slap in the faces of working families by the opposition.

With such a commitment to the people of Canberra, it is little surprise that someone was left holding the bucket, or should I pronounce that “bouquet”? Mrs Burke’s comments about this committee—the only chance for the people of Canberra to express their opinions on WorkChoices—pale by comparison with the opposition’s treatment of its own members. If this is how it treats its own, why would the people of Canberra ever entrust it with their future?

Mrs Dunne can rest assured. In 2006 the government will continue to ensure that all workers are given a fair go at work, that they can get to work on public transport and that they and their families can enjoy the wonderful sights of Canberra. On a personal note—

Mrs Burke: On a point of order: I am not sure whether this is pre-empting an outcome of the select committee of which I am a member.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

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