Page 2401 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 August 2017

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My child was not asked to join a union and no membership forms were provided to them. Rather than being upset about the session, I am pleased someone else is looking after my child’s best interests.

What do the Canberra Liberals have to fear from young people knowing the law regarding work safety rights and obligations?

I’m glad someone took the time to provide my child this information. Thank you UnionsACT.

I want to conclude by saying that the ACT Labor Party and our government are proud of our connection to the union movement—actual people who work in different industries that make up our community. Not all unions are affiliated with the Labor Party—including unions that cover teachers, nurses, police, architects, engineers and scientists—but these unions are often represented by their peak bodies, which themselves are not affiliates of the party. But all unions stand up for the most vulnerable people, including young people, who predominately work in the retail and hospitality sectors.

The other side of this room could not care less that sneaky employers like the Southern Cross Club are proposing to cut the penalty rates of workers, including some of the youngest workers on the south side. I believe that Mr Wall moved this motion not out of interest in the quality of education being provided on employment issues in our schools but based on an ideological hatred of unions. And that is part of the Liberals’ intergenerational attack on young people’s rights at work.

I would expect nothing less from a Liberal Party that supports $4 an hour jobs for young people and cuts to penalty rates and that continues to deny that there has been an increase in inequality in this country. I support UnionsACT playing a role in providing expert advice to young people on employment issues before they enter the workplace for the first time. That is why I will be supporting this amended motion today.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (5.07): Assuming that there are no other Labor members about to run through the door, I will seek to close the debate. It seems that there is consensus on one issue and one issue alone in this debate and that is that young people in schools have a right to learn about workplace health and safety. Where we differ is: who are the most qualified and most trusted individuals or entities to enter schools to deliver that training and that information session?

The fear and one of the biggest concerns I have here—and it stems from the questions that I asked of the minister for education during estimates—is that there seems to be no policy or framework in place to ensure that third-party organisations entering schools do not use that as an opportunity for recruitment. Those opposite have got a long history of seeing public schools in the ACT as a ripe opportunity to recruit members.

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