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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 2358


Senator THISTLETHWAITE (New South Wales) (21:58): I rise to speak in this debate on the Road Safety Remuneration Bill 2012 and the Road Safety Remuneration (Consequential Amendments and Related Provisions) Bill 2012. In February this year I met with George Oei, a truck driver in the electorate of Wentworth, one of my duty electorates. George spoke to me about his plight as a truck driver and encouraged me to sign the TWU pledge to support this bill and bring about safer roads in Australia. Tonight I rise on a promise, as a proud member of the Labor Party, to support the Transport Workers Union campaign and to support these bills to make our roads safer, not only for Aussie truckies and their families but for the road-using public in Australia.

I will not go on with a lengthy speech because time does not permit, but I want to deal with one of the claims of the opposition—that is, the claim that there is no connection between road safety and rates of remuneration when it comes to trucking. That is simply wrong, and the Transport Workers Union has spent decades doing research and studies and campaigning to prove, indisputably, that that claim is wrong. I say to those opposite who make that claim: just ask the family of a truck driver who has unfortunately passed away on our roads, having to sit at their vehicle day and night to get the most out of it because a contractor has forced them to work because of unfair rates of pay. I saw in New South Wales what a difference it made in 1995 when provisions such as this were entered into the Industrial Relations Act.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Crossin ): Order! The time allocated for this debate has expired.

The PRESIDENT: The question is that these bills be now read a second time.