House debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Workplace Relations, Gregson, Mr Ross

10:36 am

Photo of Rob MitchellRob Mitchell (McEwen, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Time and time again we come into this place and we discuss what the government are doing to screw over the working class. Are they making it easier for employers to fire their employees? Are they making it easier for employers to casualise the workforce? Are they making it easier for employers to cut pay? The answer is yes to all three of those questions. The new omnibus legislation is shocking for working people—and we know why. When the government first said they were making changes to industrial relations, Labor set out a very simple test you'd think even they could get: Would workers be better off? The answer is no. In fact, the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General made it clear that they are now going to ditch the better off overall test, because they can't get it through the parliament—not because it's wrong, but because they can't get it through the parliament; for political expediency. Everyone else here knows it and the government won't accept it.

In the midst of all this, the Prime Minister is snatching away JobKeeper from people who need it the most. There are 1.3 million people employed in businesses receiving JobKeeper and there are only 34 days before it's cut. We're going to see huge job losses and financial stress on families who can least afford it. We will see more people who can't get by day to day. These people are already struggling with insecure work and bad pay—and the government are making it harder for them to make ends meet. The government blame those people, the victims, for the situation they are in—it's their fault that we have people in insecure work. People are working two, three or four jobs just to try to make enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table, and the government blame them—because they value people on the worth of their dollar, not the worth of the person.

We have seen that time and time again through the pandemic, where people who work in service industries—for example, truck drivers—who go out and do a hard days work, get belittled by this government because they're not making millions of dollars. This victim blaming is becoming a hallmark of this government. This situation didn't just arrive yesterday. Insecure work has increased massively since 2013, and we now see people working in the gig economy—Uber drivers, freelance workers and all these people—suffering, and the government are letting them go. The government do not care about them.

I also want to put on record my sincere condolences to the Gregson family. Vietnam veteran Ross Gregson passed away recently. I couldn't get to his funeral, and I am absolutely shattered that I couldn't. This was a man that we should all aspire to be like. Both him and his lovely wife Denise, who was deceased before him, committed their entire lives to our communities of Seymour and surrounding areas and also to Vietnam veterans. He was instrumental in building the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk, which has been something that apart from this federal government every other level of government on both sides has been involved in to support Vietnam veterans. To Ross and Denise: you're great mates, and I dearly love you. I'm so sorry that they're gone.


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