Page 1763 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2017

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I see people have finally calmed down and are listening to what I have to say, but I have just about finished, Madam Speaker. It is never too late to put in a little bit of extra work on those things and remind people to give generously this Sunday. The buckets will be out. I may even have a little bucket in my office tomorrow, and I expect everyone in the opposition and on my side to come around and donate to this fabulous cause.

May Day picnic

UnionsACT May Day awards

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (7.01): I wish to take the opportunity to note events that took place here in Canberra to commemorate the International Workers Day, or May Day, as it is more commonly referred to.

On Monday last week I had the pleasure of attending a May Day picnic for penalty rates in Ainslie Place. The picnic was organised by two passionate CPSU members, Ben Halliday and Nick Dixon-Wilmhurst, and was attended by around 30 local workers. As well as drawing attention to issues facing workers today, such as penalty rate cuts, we were also reminded that May Day is a day of observance for those lives lost at a labour rally proposing an eight-hour working day. I thank those union members who organised the event and all of my colleagues who stood together in solidarity with them.

I was also proud to be invited to and attend the UnionsACT May Day awards on Friday, 29 May. The annual awards recognise people who have made a significant contribution to improving and advancing the conditions of working people in the ACT. I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate everyone who was nominated for awards on the night. Noting the achievements today in the chamber of some of the recipients also serves to highlight some of the challenges that workers in the ACT face.

I wish to congratulate Ron Marks, an active member of the CPSU for almost 20 years. Ron was a workplace delegate in the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for 10 years. His dedication and diligence in performing the role meant he gained wide respect from members and colleagues in his workplace. Ron spearheaded a safeguard campaign within the APVMA as it was being relocated and fought for improved support for staff.

He represented his colleagues at the bargaining table from the APVMA’s commencement in 2013 and Ron continued to play a pivotal role in bargaining, even as the agency was being relocated. While Ron will not have to move because he has now retired, this did not stop his commitment to his co-workers, and he continued to campaign on their behalf. He kept fighting against the move and for improved support for staff while the relocation took place.

Ron also fronted the Senate inquiry to give evidence on the impact the decision to move the agency has had on APVMA staff. Congratulations, Ron, on your
contribution to workers in your workplace. I hope Ron continues the fight for workers’ rights even as he enjoys his well-earned retirement.

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