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Monday, 14 September 2009
Page: 9393


Mr SIDEBOTTOM (2:21 PM) —My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for Education and Minister for Social Inclusion. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on recent public statements about workplace relations policy?


Mr Pyne —Mass distraction!


Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) —Thank you very much to the member for Braddon for his question, thank you very much to the Speaker for the call and thank you to the shadow minister for education for interjecting ‘mass distraction’. That is obviously what he thinks the Leader of the Opposition is, because this question refers to recent statements by the Leader of the Opposition.

As members of this House would recall, the heart of Work Choices was Australian workplace agreements that stripped away pay and conditions, and information from May 2006 gave us great evidence of just how bad those rip-offs that the Liberal Party endorsed were, with 63 per cent of AWAs ripping off penalty rates, endorsed by the Liberal Party; 51 per cent ripping off overtime loadings, endorsed by the Liberal Party; and 46 per cent ripping off public holiday pay, endorsed by the Liberal Party. AWAs are the rip-off at the heart of Work Choices.

The Leader of the Opposition from time to time has tried to say to the Australian people that he understands their concerns about these Liberal endorsed rip-offs. For example, the Leader of the Opposition on 25 May 2008 said, ‘Work Choices is dead. The people have spoken.’ Of course, on 26 November—


The SPEAKER —Order! I warn the member for Warringah. If he is going to wander around like that, he will take—

Honourable members interjecting—


The SPEAKER —If you wish, Member for North Sydney, I will warn the Manager of Opposition Business and the Leader of the House together. But I will not have people deciding that they can just wander around the House as a gesture. I have warned the member for Warringah.


Ms GILLARD —I understand that whenever the member for Warringah is near a microphone people become concerned about a word being used that is not suitable for daytime TV. Of course, in my answer I am referring to—


The SPEAKER —I name the member for Warringah.

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler —Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) [2:24 PM] —I move:

That the member for Warringah be suspended from the service of the House.

Question put.