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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Page: 75


Mr BEAZLEY (2:46 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. Is it the case that Mr Peter Corish is one of his government’s national water commissioners, President of the Agriculture and Food Policy Reference Group and a rumoured National Party candidate at the next federal election? Is it the case that the Australian workplace agreement offered by Mr Peter Corish to a farmhand to work at his Mundine property has resulted in the farmhand being paid only $13 per hour? Is it also the case that the OWS has been forced to investigate alleged underpayments of $71,000 to the farmhand?


Mr ANDREWS (Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) —In answer to the Leader of the Opposition’s question, I am advised that the Office of Workplace Services is investigating Corish Farms Pty Ltd in relation to some claims that were in the press. So there is an investigation by the Office of Workplace Services. The Leader of the Opposition referred to an investigation by the Office of Workplace Services. This is the very office that he wants to abolish.


Ms Gillard interjecting


The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Lalor!


Mr ANDREWS —It is an office which has recovered more than $30 million in underpaid wages for the workers of Australia and the Leader of the Opposition wants to abolish this office. Worse than that, the officials of the Office of Workplace Services—


Ms Gillard —It was your mate that underpaid them!


The SPEAKER —The member for Lalor is warned!


Mr ANDREWS —were the very people that the Leader of the Opposition stood at that dispatch box in here and called ‘snivelling little liars’. That is what the Leader of the Opposition said about the Office of Workplace Services. The Office of Workplace Services is doing a good job for Australian workers. Why in the hell would the Leader of the Opposition want to abolish a body which serves Australian workers?