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Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Page: 923

Ms CHESTERS (Bendigo) (13:57): Here we are back in parliament and yet there is still deafening silence from people on the other side, the government, about the growing trend of aggressive employers of big companies filing to terminate collective agreements. There are companies out there undermining collective bargaining as we speak, using the Fair Work Act in a way to manipulate bargaining in our workplaces. Where is it happening? In their own electorates. It is happening in the seat of Murray with the Echuca Parmalat workers, where the company has filed to terminate the agreement, trying to cut those workers' wages. It is happening in Queensland, in the member for Capricornia's electorate, where they are sacking workers and replacing them with labour hire. It is happening in the small WA town of Collie, where workers are facing 65 per cent pay cuts because the company has filed to terminate the agreement, and this government does nothing. It does nothing to stand up for blue-collar workers' jobs. It does nothing to stand up and say that we need to have a fair work system that is based upon fair enterprise bargaining. It is allowing its big business mates to bully workers into horrible pay cuts that will not only hurt those workers and their families but small communities. This government is a disgrace when it comes to standing up for blue-collar workers and their families.