Page 3205 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 23 August 2017

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I will be supporting Mr Barr’s amendment, along with my colleagues who have already spoken. I am one of the majority of members of this Assembly who are in favour of providing the working people of the ACT with proper protection at work. I prefer construction and manual workers to go home with all their fingers and all their toes. I prefer cleaners not to have their lungs burnt by being exposed to inappropriate chemicals. I want to see everyone paid their fair superannuation, not just us here in the posh jobs. I prefer subcontractors to be paid on time.

I thought all of these things were just common sense. Mr Wall’s ridiculous motion, however, seems to be motivated by a desire to do something different than that. Every time I hear a speech in this place by a Liberal describing the protections this government is delivering to local workers as a scandal, I ask myself: are fair pay and workplace safety really a scandal? I am for democracy, and for letting all voices be heard, but Mr Wall’s motion is surely one of the weirder points of view I have heard.

If UnionsACT, or anyone else, can help the government achieve safer and fairer workplaces, I say: bring it on. Anyone who thinks providing fair and safe working conditions is undesirable has a nasty view of the world, and I am glad they are not in government.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (11.27): It is disappointing to see those opposite try to hide behind the standard argument of its being about protecting workers’ rights, when there is intrinsic corruption and influencing from the union movement, impacting the daily decisions that the government makes in this place.

Mr Barr: A point of order, Madam Assistant Speaker.


Mr Barr: You have previously asked Mrs Jones to withdraw exactly the same language, because it is unparliamentary, and Mr Wall has, for the third time in this debate, identified individuals and referenced members on this side of the chamber in his language. You cannot make those allegations; they are unparliamentary, Madam Assistant Speaker. He should withdraw.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you, Chief Minister. Mr Wall, I ask you to withdraw that word.

MR WALL: Madam Assistant Speaker, the comment was in reference to the operations of the union movement, not the character of those directly opposite, but for the benefit of Mr Barr, I will withdraw.

So many local businesses, particularly, lose out as a result of union-led influence dictating government policy in this town. Have a look at the two major construction projects happening in the territory at the moment: the capital metro project heading up Northbourne Avenue to Gungahlin and the University of Canberra public hospital. They are two of the biggest construction projects going on in Canberra at the moment, and there is an absolute absence of local content on those projects, light rail especially.

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