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Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Page: 1467


Mr LAURIE FERGUSON (Werriwa) (18:58): What we have seen in this debate on the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill is the facade being ripped away from the coalition's cultivated attempt to give an impression that they have changed their attitude since they lost power in this country in the area of industrial relations. We have had all the leaks from the Leader of the Opposition, all of the backgrounding that he was the most doubtful person in the cabinet, he was the one who did not want to go as far as John Howard, he was always a moderate and he knew that they might lose the blue-collar support that had been garnished during the Howard period. But what we have seen in the contributions today from all those opposite is that same attitude of class war politics in this country.

The member for Higgins, while supposedly interested in the fate of the workers, said there should not have been any deficit spending, that we should have let the building industry go to the floor, that we should have not made sure that building material companies were supported and that we should have ensured that people could finish their apprenticeships, that people could have traineeships and that there could be spending on consumption by workers still in employment. We have had quotes, too, from Marius Kloppers and Toyota's management, as though they have no self-interest in this debate. We have had contributions saying that it is all right that this body, which is supposedly so perfect, has failed to gain a prosecution during the whole period it has been running—a situation where Terence Cole, not to put too fine a point on it—

Debate interrupted.