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Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Page: 10996

Employment and Workplace Relations

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (14:13): My question is to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation. Will the minister outline how the government is supporting good jobs across the country? Are there alternative approaches and what would be their impact?

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongMinister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (14:13): I would like to thank the member for Moreton for his question because he, like everyone on this side of the House, is committed to being a pro-jobs government. Yes, we are a government with a plan for jobs for all Australians. The reason why I say that we are a pro-jobs government is that since Labor has been elected 800,000 new jobs have been created—an enviable record anywhere in the industrialised world. Despite a soft labour market, we still have unemployment of 5.1 per cent. We have 462,000 apprentices and trainees—462,000. That is something which everyone in this House should take pleasure in, because that is good for the nation.

But the member for Moreton also said, 'What are we doing for good jobs?' I can assure members of the House that this is a government who support penalty rates in our system. We believe that low-paid Australians should be paid for working unsociable, un-family-friendly hours. When I look around the nation at we are doing for jobs, I look at the support that federal Labor gives to the car industry in Victoria. In Western Australia I look at the fact that we are building infrastructure for all our fly-in fly-out workers to get from Perth to the mines of Western Australia. In Tasmania, there is the NBN; in New South Wales, financial services; South Australia, the air warfare destroyers; and in Queensland we took the decision to back Queensland to rebuild.

But the member for Moreton asked what alternative approaches there are. I think, members of the House, we need to have a conversation about Campbell, because Campbell Newman has a different approach to jobs. Just ask about BHP. Just ask Anglo and Rio what they think about the Queensland LNP jobs-killing royalties propositions that they are advancing.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The member for Sturt should talk about nothing.

Mr SHORTEN: Poor old Clive Palmer! His money is not even welcome in the LNP anymore, because he is anti what is happening there.

Then look at the public sector jobs—14,000 jobs. The job of political leaders in Australia is not to take jobs away. That is why the federal government is stepping in. That is why we are doing no fewer than three extra jobs expos in Ipswich-Logan, Brisbane and Townsville. We are providing the workshops because there are 14,000 public sector workers who did nothing to deserve the tyranny of an LNP government—nothing at all!

The question which also remains for the House is: is Campbell Newman the metaphorical conservative, lone gunman or does he in fact act in lock-step with those opposite? I think I would have to say that he does, because he shares one common attribute with other conservative governments and conservative oppositions: he has never seen a public servant that he did not want to sack. He has never seen a public sector worker that he does not blame for all the problems of Australia.

What I know about workplace relations is that there is right way and there is a wrong way to do business—

Mr Hockey: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I take offence at that.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: My difficulty is, given the level of noise, that I was finding it quite difficult to hear anything the minister was saying.

Mr Hockey: Then you were blessed, Madam Deputy Speaker.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: For the convenience of the House I am going to ask the minister to withdraw. But I am putting everybody on notice that the continual level of noise will not be tolerated.

Mr SHORTEN: I withdraw. What I know about conservative political parties is that they have a hit list of no fewer than 80,000 public sector workers across Australia— (Time expired)

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (14:17): Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I asked the minister about good jobs. Minister, what is the government doing to ensure these good jobs have fair pay and conditions in my local community and others around the country?

Opposition members interjecting

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. What on earth is that question about? And what is the difference between a good job and a bad job?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The minister has the call and the question is in order.

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongMinister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (14:18): The member for Moreton has asked what Labor is doing to ensure good jobs.

Ms Julie Bishop interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is warned. You are speaking at a very audible level and it is—

Mrs Mirabella: So it's all right for the blokes to talk at an audible level—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am objecting to everybody speaking at a loud level, under 65(b). The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat. She has been advised to discontinue her very audible chatter across the table.

Mr SHORTEN: I thank the member for Moreton for his question. He knows better than many people here about what makes a good job because he is married to a shift worker. For the education of the Manager of Opposition Business, I can explain what a good job is. A good job is one where you actually get paid penalty rates for working unsociable hours. A good job is one where you get 12 per cent, not nine per cent.

Opposition members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Higgins is warned.

Mr SHORTEN: A good job is one where you are free from the tyranny of Work Choices. It is ironic that, whenever there is talk about industrial relations, half of those people opposite want to go back to the bad old days but the other half, the leadership of the opposition, whenever there is talk about Work Choices in their party room fall into the foetal position, moaning the term 'Work Choices'.

We on this side of the House know what constitutes a good job: it is one where you do not get sacked by Campbell Newman with poor consultation and with no respect. A good job is one where you get consulted about what is happening in your workplace. A good job is one where you have a fair say in terms of freedom from being unfairly dismissed. A good job is one where you have a fair go all round. That is why good jobs are more likely to happen under Labor governments.