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Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Page: 1116

Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (15:46): I have to say that was one of the most interesting, irrelevant contributions to a matter of public importance I have ever heard.

An opposition member: I'm sorry you didn't follow it, Jill!

Ms HALL: I notice that, before I even commence my contribution to this debate, the sensitive members on the other side of the House are interjecting. What I say is: the more they protest, the more they know they have been caught out.

The one thing every Australian knows is that you cannot trust the Liberal and National parties when it comes to protecting the wages and conditions of Australians. This is an antiworker government—a government that is planning to attack Australian workers and their conditions. By attacking Australian workers and their conditions they are attacking Australian families and their standard of living; they are really attacking the whole of our Australian economy. Our economy depends on Australian workers getting a decent income. If they do not get a decent income then, as a nation, our economy will flounder.

Before the election this government said they would make no substantial cuts to wages and conditions—no cuts to wages and no cuts to conditions—just as they said they would make no cuts to health, no cuts to education and no cuts to the ABC. We can all see just how false that commitment was, with cuts to health and this government on a vendetta to undermine Medicare. This government is on a vendetta to destroy our health system. This government constantly attacks education and the Gonski reforms. What they are doing to universities is an absolute disgrace.

Opposition members interjecting

Ms HALL: Members on the other side of this House may think it is funny. They may not take it seriously, but I can tell them: out in each and every one of their electorates, the people who vote for them know that they are being treated with contempt. Each and every day I hear from constituents saying, 'This is a bad government. This is a government you cannot trust.' You cannot trust them one iota when it comes to wages and conditions. Not only are they attacking wages and conditions—jobs are disappearing. They are disappearing faster than new jobs are being created. Unemployment has skyrocketed under the Abbott Liberal-National government.

Opposition members interjecting

Ms HALL: I notice there are members on the other side who find this quite funny. There are 100,000 more people unemployed now than when this government came to power. The unemployment rate is 6.4 per cent—quite a significant increase. That is the highest rate since 2006. It is the highest number of people who have been out of work since 12 years ago when the Prime Minister was the minister for employment.

The writing has on the wall. He has the runs on the board. Everyone knows he has failed in that area. In the electorate I represent—in the Hunter on the Central Coast—unemployment rates are very high. I notice the member for Dobell sitting opposite and I am sure she is very concerned, as am I, about the high level of unemployment on the Central Coast. On the Central Coast the unemployment rate for youth is 16.8 per cent, which is phenomenal. They are young people who do not have jobs.

Instead of attacking peoples' working conditions and wages, what we need to do is make a commitment to see that each and every worker receives the pay they deserve for putting in a fair day's work. This government has been trading away penalty rates for non-monetary benefits. There is a loss of entitlements if the company goes into liquidation through no fault of the employee. This government has attacked workers in each and every corner and it will continue to do so. (Time expired)