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Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Page: 1087


Ms CHESTERS (Bendigo) (13:56): I have to be frank: 90 seconds is not enough to outline the horrible attacks this government has made on working people. The Liberal government is undermining wages and conditions in this country right now. I need 90,000 seconds to outline exactly what this government is doing to working people.

This government is full of contradictions. The minister may come out and say in today's paper that penalty rates are set to stay regardless of the productivity recommendations. Then why hasn't this minister withdrawn his Fair Work Australia bill to bring back IFA—individual flexibility agreements—which can see workers lose penalty rates? If this minister and this Prime Minister are committed to what they are saying today in the media then why would they not withdraw their attacks on the minimum wage and actually change what they put forward in the Productivity Commission? The minister has the power to actually change the terms of reference to the Productivity Commission, so why doesn't he step up to the plate and do it?

Working people rely on penalty rates. This is how they pay their bills. It is wrong for the Prime Minister to say, 'That's fine; just don't go to work.' I would like to see what would happen if an ambo does not turn up. I would like to see what would happen if a nurse does not turn up. This government only wants to do one thing, and that is attack working people. (Time expired)