Wednesday, 19 March 2008
That this House agrees that:
- at the last election the Australian people voted for the end of Work Choices, which has hurt working families by allowing pay and conditions to be ripped off and decent hard working Australians to be sacked without reason or remedy;
- the Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Bill 2008 just passed by the Parliament is the first step in ending Work Choices;
- from the coming in to effect of this bill there will be no new Australian Workplace Agreements and from 1 January 2010 there will be no new statutory individual employment agreements of any nature; and
- in order to ensure the decent and fair treatment of Australian working families, that statutory individual employment agreements should never again be reintroduced into Australian workplace relations law.
The Liberal Party members opposite were muttering amongst themselves that this motion was unimportant. That is because they believe working families are unimportant.
I can understand why the Liberal Party are playing games with this motion: it requires them to do something that they always hate doing and that is to come clean with the Australian people. This motion has four simple parts. Firstly, it acknowledges that the Australian people rejected Work Choices at the last election because it had hurt Australian working families by allowing them to be ripped off and dismissed without remedy or reason. Secondly, it recognises that the bill that the parliament has just passed ends the making of new Australian workplace agreements. That means that, on and from 1 January 2010, we will move to a workplace relations system that has no new individual statutory employment agreements in it. That is Labor’s way. That is what the Australian people voted for at the last election—a workplace relations system without any individual statutory employment agreements within it.
The fourth part of this motion requires the Liberal Party to do what they do not want to do. It requires them to come clean on whether or not, if re-elected, they will reintroduce at any time Australian workplace agreements or any other form of individual statutory employment agreement. We on this side of the House come to bury Work Choices.
Mr Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: it is being pointed out to you now that, in the past, Speakers have ruled that there needs to be a delay and that successive resolutions that the speaker be no longer heard cannot be moved. In spite of the fact, we know, that they do not want to hear about their record on Work Choices—
Mr Deputy Speaker, on your ruling and the point of order taken by the Leader of the House: as a 15-year veteran of this House, I have a very clear recollection of the previous opposition moving the same motion against the member for Warringah, when he was the Leader of the House—
Thank you. We come to bury Work Choices. We are putting a tombstone on it that says ‘rest in peace’. We want to know whether the Liberal Party seek to exhume it. On this motion—probably they are in a party-room meeting now, trying to work out how to vote—the Liberal Party have three choices. They can vote with the government despite the secret desire of their hearts to keep Work Choices.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order based on the motion that the member for North Sydney has moved. House of Representatives Practice is very clear. The House has ruled on this motion.