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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 4096


Mr HUTCHINSON (Lyons) (11:29): I think I have every right to seek leave. They have granted it to me once; they should grant it to me again.

Ms Hall: You have nothing to say.

Mr HUTCHINSON: I would say that I have won this debate, then, Jill.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is leave granted?

Mr Champion: Don't give him leave.

Ms Hall: Will we give it to him?

Mr Champion: No. I do not think we will.

Ms Hall: We will grant him leave, because he is just putting more nails in the coffin and showing that those on the other side are just not up to the job of governing.

Leave granted.

Mr Champion interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Lyons, resume your seat. I wish to address the chamber for a moment. This is a debate that is of great rigour and substance. I understand that, but I do ask that members be a little bit less rowdy and allow the member for Lyons to make his additional contribution.

Mr HUTCHINSON: I am eternally grateful to the member for Shortland. If we cannot stand up in this place and have a debate, this is the sort of world that we want to see. This is about control. This is the way that those opposite like to approach these matters. They like to have control, they know what is best, they hate free enterprise and they hate independent contractors. I get to the point under item (1) (c) on the motion before the house: the abolishment of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

I put it to you this way, Deputy Speaker. When the department came down to Tasmania—I do not meant to pat myself on the back, but they were not coming. They were not coming to Tasmania, because their assessment was that there was no impact on owner-drivers and subcontractors in Tasmania. Unfortunately, they were dead wrong, because a 500 km round trip—it may surprise some of those on the other side that come from some of the bigger states, but anybody carting goods, for example, from Hobart up to a port in Burnie—certainly, taking milk, for example, up to the member for Braddon's electorate in Smithton or places like that—would have been subject to these intimidations and extraordinary measures that were being proposed under the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal. Fortunately, we were able to hold a hearing in Campbell Town, and I suspect you will not be surprised to know, Deputy Speaker, that we had a very good turn-up of owner-drivers, small businesses and mums and dads that often have mortgaged their homes to purchase a heavy loader—what are they called?

Mr Ewen Jones interjecting

Mr HUTCHINSON: A prime mover—thank you, member for Herbert—so that they can run their businesses. We also had larger companies coming along, many of whom employ these subcontractors, mums and dads and people that have mortgaged their homes. But guess who did not turn up? We did not have anybody there that said the tribunal was a good thing. Not one person turned up. This was the opportunity; the officials from the Department of Employment were there, and not one person—not one union representative—turned up to put a counterargument to that that we were putting on behalf of these owner operators: that this was a bad thing for their businesses, their communities and their families. Not one turned up.

I do not know what that says, Deputy Speaker; you might have a view. Those opposite might have a view about what it says. I say that I think they know they were on the wrong side of this argument. The ruse that was put forward—that this was about road safety—is an absolute slur on these people that take road safety very seriously. If those opposite were fair dinkum about this and it was something other than a union membership drive, they would know very well that a very small proportion of accidents that occur on our roads are put down as a responsibility of the truck drivers. This is a slur. We know; it has been called out. We have seen it. This was a union membership drive. This was about driving private enterprise out of the trucking industry. It very much affected Tasmanian drivers—owners-operators, mums and dads—as it did drivers all around Australia, and didn't they turn up in force and put their case very, very clearly?

Honourable members interjecting

Mr HUTCHINSON: Were you there, member for Herbert? Of course you were, because it impacts on people and businesses in your electorate, like it does in mine—and like it does in the electorate of the member for Bendigo, who moved this motion. What does she have against employers—people who are trying to make a dollar, people who are enterprising, taking a risk, risking their home? What is it that she has against those people? Fair Work Commission, not government, is the one who sets the rates—Fair Work Commission. Who set it up? They set it up. Not us.