Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 2017) . . Page.. 3196 ..
conducted in an accountable manner. It commits us to bringing forward legislation to establish our local jobs code within 12 months, which will ensure that procurement decisions deliver better outcomes for Canberra workers by requiring employers to adopt the highest ethical safety and labour standards. Surely even those union-hating union-bashers opposite would not be opposed to the highest possible ethical, safety and labour standards being required for ACT government procurement. I commend my amendment to the Assembly.
MR RATTENBURY (10.55): I welcome the opportunity yet again to speak on the matter of the MOU between the ACT government and UnionsACT. The Greens will not be supporting the motion in its original form, as I believe it is simply a political attack on unions and the union movement. But we will be supporting the amendment brought forward by the Chief Minister.
While, as a member of the Assembly and a minister within the government, I did not play a role in the negotiation and drafting of the MOU between the government and UnionsACT, the Greens do support strong protections for workers and worker safety. It is a sad reality that ACT workplaces are not immune from incidents of unsafe workplace practices, or instances of worker exploitation, and we must continue to act where we can to stamp out such problems in the Canberra community.
We have spoken many times in this place about the content and the purpose of the MOU with UnionsACT. As has been reiterated many times, the effect of the MOU is to provide the ACT government with an opportunity to consult with a peak body representing workers in the territory. The MOU provides the mechanism for the government to receive information on the industrial relations and safety track record of potential service providers.
The drafting of the motion by Mr Wall makes it clear that this is simply an attack on the union movement; at the same time we consider those attacks to be spurious and overstated. This attempt to de-legitimise the MOU between the ACT government and UnionsACT on the basis of assertions about the behaviours of individuals and individual unions, I believe, starts to venture into the realms of conspiracy theories.
I find it very insightful that the Canberra Liberals seek to raise the issue of political donations through this motion. Line No 2 of Mr Wall’s motion references the financial contributions from unions to the ACT Labor Party. If Mr Wall is seeking to suggest that the ACT Labor Party is unduly influenced by donations from the union movement, he may be attempting to argue that there should in fact be restrictions on who can make and receive political donations in the ACT.
This would certainly be a new direction for the Liberal Party here in the ACT. Having been in this place when, frankly, the Labor and Liberal parties combined to unpick the restrictions that were in place on donations here in the territory, I would be very happy to have a conversation with the Liberal Party after this debate today about moves we might make together to reconsider that unfortunate move and look at what restrictions we might put on donations here in the territory, if they are up for that conversation.