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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 March 2017) . . Page.. 814 ..

acting as the federal opposition than the government for the ACT. The opposition will not play these games, and members opposite should all be condemned for their abuse and the mistrust that the voters of the ACT place in them following last year’s election.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (4.07): I am very pleased to see this topic as a matter of public importance, even if those opposed to it do not. Income security is vital to all Canberra workers, especially those working on weekends and doing shift work. That level of security, though, has diminished significantly for too many Canberrans and for too many Australians. Job insecurity has risen dramatically. This inevitably results in lower pay, fewer workplace rights and fewer workplace entitlements.

An insecure workplace is one where it becomes harder to raise concerns about occupational health and safety. People working day to day or week to week often fear that if they speak up about these issues they will be pegged as a troublemaker and will not be re-employed. This is unacceptable. But the impact of insecure work and insecure pay does not just affect the workplace. It affects home life as well. Workers with insecure incomes struggle to get home loans or, if they do, they are from second-tier lenders with much higher interest rates. I think it is far too easy for members of this chamber to forget what it is like to suffer an irregular income. It has probably been a while since a few members in this chamber experienced an irregular income themselves.

Our society is always changing, and that change can often be for the better, but we also need to be conscious of the negative impacts of that change. The normal markers of an adult life are getting pushed further and further back. We are leaving university later, we are working in casual jobs at older ages, we are buying houses in later years and we are having children at an older age. It is irresponsible for us to ignore the clear link between income insecurity and the traditional markers of adulthood falling further away.

I would like to tell the story of one of my friends. I will not reveal his name, because he will be embarrassed, but these are the stories I hear when I go to barbecues on the weekend or catch up for a coffee with friends. He is a hardworking young man, a Canberra local. He went to university and studied hard. He has fallen in love with a wonderful girl. They are, however, victims of the insecure job crisis that is gripping our country. He has a university degree, a professional qualification, and he cannot get full-time work.

I was so excited to see him and his partner welcome their first child into the world last year, but they are strained. Raising a child is not meant to be easy, but it is not meant to be this hard either. They are expected to plan for medical bills with an irregular income. They are expected to plan for school fees with an irregular income. They are expected to provide for a baby with an irregular income. He and his partner have taken the plunge to have a child when they cannot guarantee a secure income. I am proud of them, but I fear for them.

I also fear for my friends, my colleagues, who have found the one they love and will hopefully spend the rest of their life together, but they cannot get secure work. They live off an irregular income. They have made the bold decision to delay having

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