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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7847

Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (12:03): I wasn't going to speak on this debate, but I've come to tell the truth, nothing but the truth, about what has actually happened here in regard to penalty rates. I have said before that if I have to use fear as an inducement to gain a vote in this nation, I'd rather not be here. You also know I've been kicked in and out of the House many times. This place is hard to get into, it's hard to stay in and it is easy to be thrown out of. We never forget two things. I have been kicked around in small business for nearly 30 years of my life. I lived the Thursday nights where the pay had to be there for my workers in the morning and at that stage it wasn't there, thinking: 'How are you going to do it? How are you going to make these 23 families that are reliant on you enough to supply their money for them?' I have lived it! I have never forgotten it. Even though I have been around this place for more than 30 years in this activity, I have never forgotten my roots, where I came from and why I am here. I'm still here for the same families. I'm still here for the same people.

With regard to changes to penalty rates, I am on the record as saying we needed that change in contemporary, modern Australia. A lot of the businesses in my electorate operate on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, and the only people who keep operating are those that are running a whole-family business, with mum and dad and the children working and no wages for anybody else. I hear arguments about particular groups relying on penalty rates. Is there one policeman whose penalty rates are threatened? No. Is there one water industry worker whose penalty rates are threatened? No. Is there a construction worker whose penalty rates are threatened? No, because if they don't get the Saturday and Sunday money, they won't go to work; that's how it works. Is there one chef whose penalty rates are threatened? No. Those opposite make out that everybody's penalty rates are threatened, but that's not the truth.

The Fair Work Commission decided to gradually reduce Sunday rates in the retail award, from 200 per cent to 180 per cent. That's hardly a great change; it's hardly going to make a difference to whether an employer employs somebody on a Sunday, at 180 per cent of what it would normally cost rather than 200 per cent. It's not a decision-making change for an employer. It won't encourage what I would like to see: more young people getting a job. How do I know about more young people getting a job? Because I'm the one in my town, like other businesses and people like me, that employed those kids after school, on a Friday night or on a Saturday morning when they could work.

Kids come up to me today and say: 'Mr Broadbent, you know me; I worked for you.' I'm embarrassed; they look a bit different 30 years down the track. They're brilliant. They've gone on to do other things. They're wonderful young women and men with families and children of their own, and they're thanking me for what they learnt. I've had kids come to me and say, 'Mr Broadbent, I can't get a job.' One girl said to me, 'All I want you to do is put me on and pay me nothing, just so I've got something on my record to say that I have worked and I'm good at what I do.' I put her on, and I paid her above award rates—which most of our staff always got—plus bonuses in other ways, because I wanted her to succeed. She not only succeeded; she went on to do amazing things, as did other young people who were having a tough time and just wanted to come to work for a while. I'm running out of time. I could give my heart to this issue. Please allow the Fair Work Commission to help make Australia a better country with greater opportunities for young people.