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Monday, 20 March 2017
Page: 1381

Senator BACK (Western Australia) (15:11): You always know when Senator Cameron has got nothing to say—he attacks the person. Sure enough, true to form, who was he attacking today because of the emptiness of his argument? Senator Brandis. I look back to the Golden Slipper on the weekend when She Will Reign burst out and had a win and Winx had its 16th win. If the Fair Work Commission were a racehorse, who would we be pinning it home on? Who owns the Fair Work Commission? The Labor Party. Who trained the Fair Work Commission? The Labor Party. Who rode the Fair Work Commission? The Labor Party. And who was the Chairman of Stewards and the appeal committee of the Fair Work Commission? The Labor Party. It is the creation of the Labor Party under the prime ministership of Ms Gillard. Indeed, the hands-on trainer was none other than the masterful trainer Mr Bill Shorten. They created the Fair Work Commission and stacked it with their own from top to bottom, but the story gets even better.

Mr President and those in the public gallery, do you know what the then minister Mr Shorten did after he had brought in the Fair Work Commission with Ms Gillard? He actually caused it to be amended. He caused the Fair Work Act, Senator Paterson, to be amended. Do you know what he wanted the Fair Work Commission to do? He wanted the commission to incorporate penalty rates because they did not previously exist. He wandered into the stable. He did not want to just win this race; he wanted to make it a one-horse race, and even then it fell at the turn and he was not able to get it across the line because specifically he directed, in that amendment to the Fair Work Act, that Chief Commissioner Iain Ross and three others of the ACTU be appointed to incorporate specifically penalty rates into the Fair Work Act.

What do we see today? We see the results of the masterful Shorten performance. The only problem was he trained the horse as a sprinter, not as a stayer.

At the end of a 500-plus page report—a whole ream of typewritten paper—what did Commissioner Ross and his fellow commissioners conclude? They concluded that it was in order to reduce the Sunday penalty rates down to those of Saturday's penalty rates—not to remove them altogether but to bring them back to Saturday rates. What sort of an own goal was it originally for Ms Gillard, for Mr Shorten and now for the Labor opposition in this place? It is the simple fact, as we know, that it is not governments who create jobs; it is employers who create jobs. It is this side of the chamber, it is the coalition, who will champion and continue to champion business, especially small business.

Mr President, you might have to declare a conflict of interest, because you may once have had one of the burgers from the Hobart Burger King franchise of which I was the proud manager. For the information of those on the other side, the vast majority of the 65 staff members who were in my Burger King business were (a) young people, (b) people who otherwise would not have been employed or (c) people who were underemployed.

As the Attorney-General, our leader in the chamber, eloquently spoke of today when he mentioned KFC and McDonald's—and he probably could have included other fast food businesses—it is not those who work full-time all week who are affected with regard to the changes have been made. We know very well it is those who are otherwise underemployed or unemployed who are the beneficiaries of this circumstance.

Again, this is an own goal for the Labor Party. They created the Fair Work Commission. They asked the Fair Work Commission to include penalty rates. The Fair Work Commission included penalty rates. It came up with its conclusion, and this mob have backed the wrong horse.