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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 4091


Mr HUTCHINSON (Lyons) (11:08): There is nothing surprising in the member for Bendigo moving this motion. She talks about the workers, but I wonder who in the member's electorate of Bendigo speaks and has a voice for the small business employers in the electorate? I do not understand. She is always talking about standing up for the workers' rights. But without somebody who can open a business and can actually pay those employees they do not have a job. She seems to miss that and takes great pleasure in characterising and demonising the employers in her electorate.

We will just see what the member for Bendigo supports—or should be supporting. The things that she talks about in respect of pay rates are, of course, not determined by government. She seems to miss this point that they are determined by an independent organisation known as the Fair Work Commission that was set up by whom? It was set up by those opposite. We play by the rules which they determine. She also mentions the registered organisations. How can it be wrong that unions, for example, have the same requirements that a publicly listed company has in terms of governance? How can that be a bad thing? I really struggle to understand it. She can only be advocating for—one would think—dodgy union officials. I have no problems with unions, because I work with many unions in my electorate all time. Unions do good things for workers all over the world. I support that, but I think most Australians condemn dodgy union officials taking advantage of those members that are paying their union dues—many of whom are obliged to because they do not get a choice. Of course we know that every member of those opposite has to be a member of a union. How is it so? You cannot be a member of the Labor Party unless you are a member of a union. What sort of party advocates for that? How is that so?

I was very pleased to see that the member for Bendigo, that landlocked seat in central Victoria, raised coastal shipping. I am a member for a seat in Tasmania—the island state in the island nation. In 2012, the changes that were made by those opposite absolutely devastated coastal shipping in my state of Tasmania. We lost our only international shipping service, by virtue of exactly the changes that were made by those opposite. It was a disgrace. What happened then was that the volumes there that had previously gone, I think, via Brisbane on the AAA service that used to go to Port Adelaide, Bell Bay, Brisbane and then off to Singapore and then to different parts of the world fell off the perch. When that happened, thanks to the decisions made by those opposite, all of that volume then went onto Bass Strait—and guess what? The prices went up. We should be bringing competition back into the vital lifeline. She talks about jobs for seafarers in our country. I note also that the other day the last fuel tanker—the coastal Australian flagged vessel—left our country, so you have driven it into the ground. The volume has fallen off the perch. You have killed an industry and we are trying to revitalise that. This is something that desperately hurt my state.

She brings up the ABCC. There was an ABC fact check done on that one—I will leave my words there. Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention—and I do not think she actually got to it, although it is on the motion that she has put forward—the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal. What an absolute shocker! I had people contacting my office. There were independent contractors, people that are employing independent contractors, and mums and dads that own one or two trucks. There was one chap there from Sorell, Michael Emerton. He runs a truck service and he travels up to Sydney. He rang me in absolute desperation. Under the ruse of this being a road safety measure, this was a union membership drive for the Transport Workers Union—no more, no less—and we have knocked it on the head, but they will bring it back—make no mistake.