Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2016) . . Page.. 267 ..
The commission’s recommendation for an enterprise contract appears to be advocating a return to the Australian workplace agreements that operated under the Howard Work Choices regime, and we all know the famous words at the time of the last election: “Work Choices is dead.” This is, I believe, an insidious attempt to revive a failing policy and it has not been lost on the ACT government and my caucus colleagues. We will continue to fight today, as the Labor governments did then, to ensure that the antiquated and unfair values of those opposite do not have a place in our society.
Put simply, the ACT government cannot support a move that will serve to further isolate and jeopardise the quality of living for our citizens, especially those who are vulnerable and rely on policymakers and decision-makers to make the best decisions for the betterment of our community.
I go back to a point that I think is, to me, one of the more disturbing points and is very personal because I know many of my friends do have sons and daughters working part time in various cafes and supermarkets in the community. And if we were to allow or support enterprise contracts to come into place, sons and daughters, family friends— and I have no doubt that others in this place are in the same situation—will actually be disadvantaged where their employer, through these arrangements, can adopt a take-it-or-leave-it approach without any approval by the Fair Work Commission. I think that is just unfair in its extreme.
Penalty rates are there because they provide support for people working on Sunday. Why are they working on Sunday? They are working on Sunday so that we can enjoy a trip to the movies, coffee with friends, a nice lunch with friends. I know I am prepared to pay the extra I need to pay because I know that is fair and reasonable. If I can be entertained, if I can benefit from being able to go out on a Sunday and have a coffee and have a feed, I will not do that and expect the person serving me to be disadvantaged through the loss of Sunday penalty rates.
This is a matter of importance because it is a matter for our families, our friends. When we go and buy coffee on a Sunday, just think how the person serving us would think if we were prepared to have them take a cut in their terms and conditions.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (3.29): I thank Ms Burch for giving me the opportunity to put this position clearly on the record. Our position is this: we support the intent of Ms Burch’s MPI. Let me repeat this to remove any doubt whatsoever: the Canberra Liberals will not cut penalty rates. We do not support cutting penalty rates and we will oppose cuts to penalty rates for low paid workers in Canberra. This may surprise some of you who seek to run a scare campaign but if you understand what we stand for in the Canberra Liberals it should not surprise people. It will not be a surprise to people who understand that my team will be fighting the next election and, if we win, we will govern this territory.
We have spent the entire term out in our community, out at the shopping centres and businesses and workplaces, listening to real concerns and real issues from people. We have listened and we understand the problems facing so many people who are trying