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Thursday, 14 September 2023
Page: 71

Senator CHISHOLM (QueenslandAssistant Minister for Education, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Deputy Manager of Government Business in the Senate) (13:58): I want to join with colleagues on this side of the chamber who have congratulated the Transport Workers Union for their successful court action yesterday. What happened to those workers—their treatment by Qantas—was an absolute tragedy. I give full credit to the Transport Workers Union and the other unions that pursued this court action and sought justice for these workers.

We need to turn our minds back to when this happened and what was going on in this country. The country was going through a difficult phase. COVID had a tremendous impact on so many industries. But the way Qantas operated and treated these workers was absolutely disgraceful. What was worse than that was that the government of the day—those opposite—did nothing for those workers. They did not stand up for those workers. They did not condemn Qantas. They were happy in government to let that happen and let the workers be treated in such a disgraceful way. It is an absolute shame and a discredit to them that they enabled this to happen on their watch.

That is not how this government operates. We will absolutely stand up for workers and ensure that they get a fair deal and fair treatment in the workplace. We want to clean up those loopholes and ensure that if people have the same job they get the same pay. We know that it is rife through so many places in this country.

This is a Labor government that is absolutely on the side of workers, that wants to deliver a better deal for workers in this country. And that is exactly what we will do with the closing the loopholes legislation that will come before this chamber.