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Monday, 31 October 2011
Page: 12170

Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (11:57): There is so much good material, where do you start? At the end of the day an IR framework is designed to give people job security and to give them jobs. No amount of attempting to blame the Qantas management for an issue that the unions created in the first place by creating uncertainty is going to change that.

The Fair Work Act is another example of Labor's approach to an industrial relations reform that again centres around emboldening the union movement. There are plenty of examples over the years of where the union movement's own agenda has cost workers their jobs. Again, it is an example that is going to be a detriment in the long term to the employees.

This motion is just farcical. This weekend we have seen the Qantas dispute where the government's mismanagement has forced Qantas to take these drastic actions.

Mr Champion: Poor managers!

Mr VAN MANEN: This is not the first industrial action that has tested Labor's industrial relations dispute resolution process. At the end of the day the quality of this process is based upon how it handles the disputes, not when things are going well.

Mr Champion: As there have been up until now.

Mr VAN MANEN: There have been disputes at Toyota around pay issue. There have been disputes at BHP's coal mine—

Mr Champion: There were disputes under Howard. Tristar under Howard held up the whole economy.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Murphy ): Order! The member for Wakefield will cease interjecting.

Mr VAN MANEN: So then we have BHP's coalmine dispute, there is Customs, there is police, there is transport. The list goes on. Qantas is being held to ransom by the unions. On Saturday night, we saw the end result of that with Qantas grounding their flights. Passengers were stranded in airports all over the country as well as internationally. Included in the list of stranded people were dignitaries, journalists and staff who attended CHOGM. It is not a good look for promoting our industrial relations process in action. What an embarrassment for this government. It just adds to the long litany of government mismanagement on BER, border protection, live cattle industry—

Government members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Government members will cease interjecting.

Mr VAN MANEN: I am happy to support my community.

Mr Neumann: You guys voted against it.

Mr VAN MANEN: It is all a bit late for that. How many other businesses have been affected by this industrial action not to mention investor confidence and productivity? This whole fiasco must surely taint travellers' perceptions of visiting Australia. The tourism industry has already reported a five to 10 per cent drop in the number of bookings for the Christmas period and rolling strike actions are not going to win over any ambivalent tourists.

Mr Champion: They are not rolling strikes.

Mr VAN MANEN: The rolling strikes or threats of strikes prior to Saturday.

Government members interjecting


Mr VAN MANEN: Customers who have been lost, who have decided not to come Down Under for a holiday, will mean tourist operators will need to win them back. The managing director of Webjet indicated in an interview with Business Spectator that if the strikes continued, they could have a knock-on effect impacting the whole Australian tourism industry. There are the related industries that go with that. Due to these threats or strikes that have occurred and are being scheduled to occur over the coming months, we are only going to see a decline in people wishing to travel to this country.

It is not QANTAS that are changing the goalposts. They have not implemented any changes to the legal framework for industrial relations introduced by the fair work system. The dispute resolution umpire has done little to credibly assist in bringing this dispute to an end. If anything, they could be accused of undermining the rights and conditions that have been collectively bargained. As the member for Mayo pointed out, the dollar figure for pays is not an issue, it is about allowing the management of the company do what it needs to manage the business in the model—

Mr Champion interjecting


Mr VAN MANEN: Well, job security is about changing the requirements and framework of what needs to be done in the jobs to reflect the new technology that has come in with new planes. They are happy to cost Qantas $15 million a week or $70 million over the process—

Debate adjourned.