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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 November 2007) . . Page.. 3412 ..

by people just by happenchance on this minister’s watch. The administration and the operation of the accident and emergency system have substantial problems which are not being addressed by this minister, and those substantial problems culminated in a serious illness besetting somebody in the waiting room, which resulted in their death while they were left unattended for a number of hours. It is a great shame for all of us in this territory that people die in waiting rooms. It is of great shame for us that people sit or lie on trolleys in corridors; that they are sitting in wheelchairs. (Time expired.)

Federal election

Trade union movement

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (6.11): With the federal election coming up in 10 days time, there has been much ado about any association on the part of members of the federal Labor team with the trade union movement. This evening I want to put on the record my proud association with the trade union movement. Of course those on the other side might say: “Why would you want to do something like that? Why on earth would you want to say that you are proud to be associated with the trade union movement? After all, aren’t they full of thugs?” According to the ads that is what you would believe, and according to those on the opposite side you would believe that the trade union movement was full of thugs.

As you know, Mr Speaker, and as I know, that just is not true. I have a belief, and I know it to be true, that the trade union movement in this country has a long and proud history of looking after the interests of all Australians—not just a few but all Australians. Here are just a few things that I would like to mention that the trade union movement has been involved with—with some of the reasons why I am proud to be involved with the trade union movement.

Mr Seselja: What about the BLF? Do you want to tell us about some of their activities?


MS MacDONALD: Without the trade union movement in the first place, superannuation as a standard for Australians in this country would not be in place. It was the trade union movement, the ACTU and the Hawke and Keating governments that made the decision to enter into superannuation and thus ensure protection in retirement for all Australians, not just the wealthy.

The trade union movement once again has a long history of being involved in many areas in ensuring that trainees and apprentices get adequate training and that hardworking men and women get decent pay rates. Of course there are those who would say, “Well, we should let the market decide.” I am sure that is what those on the other side would suggest—that there is no need for trade unions to be involved in this because the market will determine whether or not people get paid adequate pay rates. But of course that just is not the case.

The trade union movement also provided representation in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, the industrial relations court, when it existed, and in other courts. This is for people who would otherwise go unrepresented and may not be able

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