Page 2005 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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I do not think the kind of rhetoric we have heard from Mr Gentleman is helpful. What he again seeks to do on behalf of the union movement is to pit employees against employers. I do not think that that is the key to safety on our work sites. I think the key is for those groups to be working together. I do not accept the assertion from Mr Gentleman that our peak bodies do not care about safety. I think that they do. Can they do better? Of course they can. But it is a bit rich to be lectured by this ACT Labor government about the record when they have been in charge for the last 11 years. Clearly, based on that record, their measures have failed and failed in a pretty serious way in comparison to other jurisdictions.

In conclusion, Madam Deputy Speaker, we will support Mr Rattenbury’s amendment. We think that is a more sensible way forward. It takes away the self-congratulations. This government does not deserve self-congratulation on this issue. But we are committed to safer work sites. We will look to work with industry. The opposition will work with the industry, including unions, including employer representatives, to ensure that there is better safety on our work sites—something that, unfortunately, over the last few years has not been the case in the ACT.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (11.38): I thank Mr Gentleman for bringing this motion forward this morning. It is critical that we have a discussion about, and we recognise the importance of reaffirming our commitment to, ongoing reform and improvement in the safety culture that exists in particular in the construction and civil sector here in the ACT but, indeed, right across all parts of the ACT economy.

I have listened with interest to Mr Seselja’s comments. I am now very confident that he will fit in very well with the neo-conservatives, his colleagues up in the Senate, should he be successful in the election which is due in September. What we heard, of course, were pious words from Mr Seselja about the importance of bodies such as the Australian Building and Construction Commission. He talked about the rule of law and what a wonderful institution the Australian Building and Construction Commission was under the Howard government.

This was an organisation that could compel people to be interviewed and removed the right against self-incrimination in those interviews. For the shadow attorney-general in this place to support an institution which, in its previous incarnation, removed the right against self-incrimination in evidence given to it by workers is, of course, rank hypocrisy. It is rank hypocrisy, but I am confident that Mr Seselja is going to fit in just fine.

The issues before us are not about trying to portray this as a fight between workers and employers. It is about recognising—

Mr Seselja interjecting—


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