Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 2017) . . Page.. 3198 ..
I note that the ACT government has limited ability to legislate on many aspects of industrial relations law, as most of it resides within the ambit of the commonwealth government, but it would be entirely appropriate for the ACT government to leverage the abilities that it does have to ensure that it is supporting an ACT economy that provides a fair and safe go for Canberra workers.
I note that the latter part of Mr Wall’s motion refers to the fact that there has been an indication that legislation will come forward to move some of the elements from the MOU into legislation. I am surprised by Mr Wall’s positioning on this now because one of his key concerns about the MOU has been its apparently secret nature. I think it was unfortunate that many people did not know about it, so I agree with him to some extent. It was regrettable that it was seen in that way, because it does invite a degree of conspiracy theory. It invites insinuations that I think are regrettable. Surely, it is better to have relevant elements brought forward in legislation.
We can have a debate in this place about whether it is appropriate or not for those to be the protections for workers in our community. Surely, this is a better approach. For Mr Wall to rule it out, out of hand, is regrettable. It means that we will not be having a discussion on the merits of whether particular provisions are the right provisions or not. It simply says there is an ideological stance being taken from the get-go when it comes to issues of workers’ safety, and I think that is unfortunate.
It is quite appropriate that we have procurement processes that invite a degree of ethical standards, that invite a degree of standards that reflect the values of our community. I think it is a clear value of this community that we should have safe workplaces.
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (11.03): I rise to support the motion in its original form. This is not an anti-union motion. Unions have played a major role in making this country as great as it is today, and I support the core business of unions in advocating for workers and giving a voice to those who have none. But when that role becomes expanded into having a major say in every aspect of our lives, I think things have gone too far. The major benefit of union motions in this place is that we know Mr Pettersson will be awake, and I think that is a win for democracy.
I have spent six months here, listening to some of the rubbish that comes from the other side, and one of the things that surprises me most—and it happens not just in this place; it happens out in the public space, and it happens sometimes in social media—is when those opposite and others make the assertion that the Liberals are in the pockets of property developers: these evil property developers. There was almost a veiled suggestion from Mr Rattenbury along those lines, and I have heard Mr Steel make these calls as well.
I know that those opposite—because we hear from Mr Barr pretty much every day in here—are well aware of the fact that we have not been in government for some time, so God knows what these evil property developers could possibly have achieved by