Page 1556 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

As I look to members here, I think I am the only nurse in this place who has indeed worked in the aged-care sector. I have worked in nursing homes and retirement centres and have provided home visits to the elderly while they are still living in their own homes. I know firsthand what the work in the aged-care sector is. I have cared for, showered, dressed and fed many elderly people. I have worked alongside the fabulous workers in the aged-care sector. They are a committed, respectful workforce, and we should value and respect them. There should not have been any hesitation in awarding them portable long service leave.

It is because of this firsthand experience that I know how hard the work is, how committed these workers are and that they should be valued and recognised for the work they do. That is why I am pleased that those on this side of the chamber supported a long service leave program for the aged-care sector, a program that allows hard workers to access their fair entitlements. It is disappointing, though, that we continued to see the Canberra Liberals try and deny these hard workers access to their fair entitlements. It is disappointing that the Canberra Liberals continued to deny workers who stay in the same industry access to their fair entitlements.

Whilst disappointed, one ought not be surprised, because who can forget the Canberra Liberals position on long service leave, and it was repeated and reaffirmed here this week. Of course, let us not forget their position on the value of women in the workforce. Let us recall what Mrs Dunne has said in this place. On long service leave Mrs Dunne has said:

Long service leave was envisaged in Australia and New Zealand to allow people to return home on a boat. In a sense … it is a real and intended purpose now redundant for many obvious reasons. Even from that viewpoint, it is dubious to think that workers remaining in an industry, let alone a single employer, should be able to accumulate long service leave.

Extraordinary statements from the Canberra Liberals. And on women, who are the predominant gender in the aged-care sector and who the Canberra Liberals tried this week to deny access to portable long service leave, Mrs Dunne said:

... often women have somewhat of a luxury about whether they are in the workforce or not … And it is often the case, especially in a town like Canberra … that women, especially in their middle years ... are more inclined to move in and out of the workforce as it suits them ...

I do not agree with that sentiment in any way, shape or form. I will quote the job description of an aged-care worker from an ad that was on the internet today:

… provide safe, effective quality care for our residents. It will include but not be limited to, assisting residents with showering, dressing, grooming, toileting, medication assistance, communication, eating, mobility and social activities in accordance with the resident’s nursing care plan.

If I were to ask a woman working in the aged-care sector tomorrow morning—who had started possibly before 9 o’clock, who had to deal with her family, possibly drop

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video