Page 2449 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 31 July 2018

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It is one of the moments in your life when you remember exactly where you were when your phone rang and the instant feeling of sickness that comes over you as you hear the news that one of your staff has been involved in an accident on a job site, and the unstoppable shaking when you have to call his wife and explain that there has been an accident at work, that it is serious and that he is on his way to hospital.

This is an experience I want never to have again, and it is one that no-one should ever have to endure. Safety is everyone’s responsibility, but I reiterate that safety should never be used as an industrial relations wedge or as a political plaything. When it is, people get hurt or, worse, they die.

This bill is terrible, and probably the worst legislation I have seen in my time in this Assembly. Good legislation should, above all, be fair. This is not fair. It is not useful. It is nothing more than a stake in the ground for what is to come as far as union influence over this government is concerned. I reiterate that the Canberra Liberals vigorously oppose this legislation.

MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (5.03): Contrary to what Mr Wall thinks, I reckon this is a good bill. I fully support the government’s bill. I am supporting it because health and safety in the construction industry should be a priority. Construction sites are dangerous places. Every jurisdiction in Australia classifies them as high risk. In the ACT, injury rates have improved since the 2012 Getting Home Safely report. However, there is still more to do to protect our construction workers.

Sitting here, listening to the debate, I see Mr Wall is yet again trying to have a crack at the CFMEU. I am sure Mr Hanson would take offence if someone started blaming the ADF for deaths of Australian citizens in terrorist attacks. Likewise, as a member of the union, I take offence. To blame an organisation that spends energy in the defence and promotion of the safety and security of construction workers is a particularly craven way of looking at the world. It is the sort of fetishism of conflict that we stamp out.

When organisations like the MBA and their Liberal allies engage in these fetishes, people get killed on site. Some days I struggle to believe that is not their goal. The point of this bill is to improve the quality of safety consultation in the construction industry.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Could you sit down please, Ms Cody. Did you just say that you struggle to believe that it is not the goal of members of this place—

MS CODY: No, I did not.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: to facilitate deaths on sites? Can you repeat what you said, please?

MS CODY: I said sometimes I struggle to believe there is not a goal.

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