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Thursday, 1 November 2012
Page: 12951

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (11:23): I see that the member for Mayo had about five minutes left. Perhaps he had no more anti-union, anti-worker tirades in his sloganeering and smearing of workers. I notice that he did not address the bill at all in relation to this. But that is not surprising because a couple of days ago he and his colleagues over there decided to vote against protecting workers entitlements in relation to the fair entitlements guarantee bill to make sure that Australian workers who were affected by liquidation and the bankruptcy of their employer have stronger protections in terms of their entitlements. Since I have been in this place I have never seen a piece of legislation that protected workers entitlements or advanced superannuation that those opposite would actually make a speech on and support. The member for Bradfield spoke in relation to job losses in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. He said that what we were doing was a gratuitous interference in the allocation of human resources. What sort of Orwellian comment is that, when people have lost their jobs?

This particular piece of legislation, the Fair Work Amendment (Transfer of Business) Bill 2012, is about protecting the entitlements of state public servants whose jobs have been not just threatened but destroyed and their lives and financial security absolutely badly damaged by LNP state governments in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and elsewhere. The member for Mayo is here. The illustrious leader of his party in South Australia, Isobel Redmond, in what had to be a brain-snap, actually said she was going to cut 25,000 public servants in South Australia. It is a miracle that she won the leadership ballot by one vote; I cannot believe that she actually did it. But the member for Mayo did not say a word about the 25,000 Public Service jobs that would be on the line under the Liberal leader in South Australia.

Let us look at the people who are going to be protected. Under this legislation, the transfer-of-business provisions protect workers whose jobs are effectively outsourced. The proposed amendments make sure that the transfer-of-business provisions in the Fair Work Act actually cover circumstances where a state government outsources work or sells assets to the private sector and a national workplace relations system employer. The provisions are based on the new employer, not the state government, to ensure that they are valid. Effectively, if your job is outsourced by a state government to another employee doing the same sort of work, your entitlements are going to be protected.

For the benefit of those opposite—the member for Bradfield and the member for Mayo—I am going to list and talk about those human resources, those real people, those families and individuals who are actually going to lose their job. The Queensland Council of Unions estimates that 900 jobs have been lost in Ipswich in my electorate as a result of the Campbell Newman government sacking public servants and those whose community organisations were funded by departments such as the Department of Community Services in Queensland. The Campbell Newman government has effectively ripped $68 million out of Ipswich—and, according to the Queensland Times newspaper, the state member for Ipswich thinks six jobs have been lost! When we put on a jobs workshop in Ipswich, and there were about 70 people at that workshop, people were still coming in when I was talking. When I was talking about the fact that there were public servants who have lost their jobs in various departments—and I started listing the departments—people at that workshop were nodding their heads because they have lost their jobs. We are providing $850,000 to help those people and a workshop in Ipswich and a skills and jobs expo in Brisbane on 26 October and in Logan on 15 November. We are providing help to those people who have lost their jobs. Not a word, not a whisper, has been uttered by those opposite about the fact that we have put up $850,000 to support jobs in that area.

We also supported jobs in the community sector as well. There are 23 tenancy advocacy services around Queensland employing dozens and dozens of people and providing tenancy advice to 80,000 Queenslanders a year. Those jobs would have been lost. They are not the 14,000 full-time equivalent public servant jobs lost in Queensland that were declared by Campbell Newman; they are other people in the public sector who would have lost their jobs. But this federal Labor government stepped in and saved them. There were six jobs saved at IRASI in Ipswich, a service that supports 150 tenants in court and provides 600 phone calls and attendances a month. That would have been gone entirely if Campbell Newman had his way. We are making a provision to make sure that that tenancy advice continues and those jobs are saved by the intervention of the federal Labor government.

I am going to talk about the human resources that have been 'reallocated', according to the member for Bradfield. This comes directly from the budget papers in Queensland under the LNP state government. At the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs there were 15 jobs lost. At Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry there were 450 jobs lost. I have spoken to a person in that department who came to see me. She was not a full-time equivalent effectively. She was answering the phone on the front line. She saw me at a mobile office at Yamanto.

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services is another. These are front-line services that help kids in distress, in need of protection from neglect, abuse and family violence, and 385 jobs will be lost. In the Department of Community Safety there will be 345 jobs lost. In the Department of Education, Training and Employment 450 people have lost their jobs. In the Department of Energy and Water Supply 135 jobs have been lost. In the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection 220 jobs have been lost. In the Department of Housing and Public Works 1,425 jobs have been lost. In the Department of Justice and Attorney-General 510 jobs have been lost; in the Department of Local Government, 15; in the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing, 130; in the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, 360; and, from the police, 215—so much for public safety.

In the Department of the Premier and Cabinet—you can build a Taj Mahal in the executive building in the middle of Brisbane—only 45 jobs will be lost. In the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts 110 jobs will be lost. In the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning there will be 145 jobs lost. In the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games, 15 jobs will be lost. In the Department of Transport and Main Roads 1,450 jobs will be lost. In Treasury and Trade 85 jobs will be lost.

But the biggest job losses will be in health, with 4,140 jobs lost—doctors and nurses, front-line services in Queensland including, as the member for Moreton mentioned before, 45 nurses in Townsville. I wonder what the member for Herbert thinks about that. In my electorate in the Ipswich and West Moreton region, we have also seen front-line health services go. These are people who help in cases of domestic violence, who help on the front line when people have been sexually abused. That is what they do. Ask the Ipswich Women's Centre Against Domestic Violence what impact the job losses there have had on our community. In the Ipswich and West Moreton region $17 million is going to go from health. If they do not sack people, if they do not get rid of that $17 million this year, another $10 million is going to go. So much for Lawrence Springborg, the Minister for Health in Queensland. So much for Campbell Newman.

But what do those opposite say? This is what they say about those people, those 'human resources'. The Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Treasurer are incredibly supportive, of course. This is what the Leader of the Opposition says about the state governments in relation to the job losses, the service cuts and the funding cuts in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria:

… I respect the job that they're doing, I work closely with them as far as I can, but they are dealing with their problems at the state level …

That is what the Leader of the Opposition thinks jobs are—they are problems. He continued:

… I will seek to deal with federal problems at our levels.

The coalition are on the public record as saying they are going to sack public servants here in Canberra. We know they have a $70 billion black hole in their budget. We are not making that statement up. The shadow Treasurer said it on public TV. He said it and he has repeated it—$70 billion. The age pension, Medicare, family tax benefit and disability assistance will be gone for years. That is worth $70 billion. It is not an academic figure. If they are going to cut those services, the public service in Canberra and the public service around the country, particularly in regional and rural Queensland, is going to be at risk. The transfer-of-business provisions here are so critical in protecting jobs. They are absolutely front line.

These cuts in New South Wales, we discovered overnight, were unnecessary because, miraculously, the water turned into wine, the Red Sea parted and the loaves and fishes took place. They found $1 billion in the New South Wales budget. We could not believe it. They found $1 billion. So what they did was they sacked people and they cut $1.7 billion out of the New South Wales education budget, effectively gutting services in New South Wales. It is an incredible failure from the New South Wales colleagues of those opposite. They could not get the calculator out and work out how much money they had. It is simply bewildering.

Those opposite would do the same. I mentioned before the $70 billion black hole that they have, and that is what they are going to do. It is an absolutely extraordinary set of circumstances that those opposite refuse to comply with what they had said previously in terms of the costing of policies. Thank goodness the Independents insisted that there be proper accounting of their costings after the last election, when there was an $11 billion black hole. We know that they have a $70 billion black hole because it has been said before, not just by the shadow Treasurer. The shadow finance minister has made that crystal clear as well.

So at the next election the choice is going to be pretty clear: a choice between a Labor government that believes in fair work and those opposite, who believe in Work Choices. Those opposite never saw a bill that protected workers' rights that they did not want to vote against. We think we got the balance right, in the sensible centre, in the Fair Work legislation. The pendulum went way out to the right when Work Choices was introduced.

There is going to be a choice at the next election about a party on this side that wants to increase superannuation from nine to 12 per cent, that wants to step in and protect workers' jobs and that wants to make sure we have an industrial relations system in this country where workers and their employers sit down together, negotiate enterprise agreements and bargain collectively, where the unfair dismissal provisions continue to make sure that seven million Australians are protected by our legislation. That is unlike those opposite, who want to tear it up.

We want to make sure that there is enough money in people's pockets so that they themselves can invest in their education, their health and their financial security. We want to make sure that there is no slashing and burning when it comes to their pay packets and that they have jobs that can feed their families. The provisions here are critical. They are very, very critical to the future.

I think, when it comes to IR with those opposite, there is some sort of apostolic succession going on for preselection in the LNP. What happens is that they have to channel John Howard. When it comes to a preselection in the LNP, you have to be meaner and tougher and nastier with respect to workers' entitlements. Whoever is the toughest, whoever is the most right wing and extreme and the most anti-union, will get preselected. In my just over five years in this place, I have seen it with those opposite. Whenever a small 'l' liberal who might have some sort of social conscience leaves, they replace them with a hard right-winger.

When it comes to this sort of stuff, they should be on the public record supporting it, protecting jobs, protecting those people, and all those Queensland LNP members should be at the forefront, standing up for their constituencies and standing up to Campbell Newman. Stand up for jobs, stand up for services and stand up for those community organisations in your area that deliver those services to your constituents. Stand up for Queensland. Stand up to Campbell Newman. I commend the legislation to the House.