House debates

Thursday, 25 November 2021


Fraser Electorate: Schools, Trade Unions

4:29 pm

Photo of Daniel MulinoDaniel Mulino (Fraser, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

As 2021 draws to a close, I want to acknowledge the school leaders, teachers, students and their families across Fraser. Fraser's school communities have worked so hard to keep our young people engaged in education amid this pandemic and the necessity of homeschooling. As a parent, I know how much effort teachers have invested to deliver good, remote learning outcomes over the last two years and how much energy has gone into providing students with high-quality, individualised learning. I am so grateful to the principals and teachers of Fraser for their unstinting efforts and professionalism, and I hope that 2022 is an easier year for the learning and personal development of our young people.

The last two years have particularly impacted on children and young people, whose schooling and extracurricular activities have been severely curtailed. As a result, it's a particular pleasure to recognise in this parliament today some of the recent winners of the Fraser Primary School leadership awards. This award is given to year 6 students who have made special contributions as leaders in their school communities during the course of the year. This year's winners include: Ruby and Rhea at St Theresa's in Albion for their positive approach to school life and enthusiasm for learning; Annie and Stephen of Glengala Primary School for being motivated, contributing to every lesson and consistently showing the school values of respect, responsibility and safety; Eunice and Amelie of Sunshine Christian School for their compassion, creativity, leadership and positive influence on others; George and Mia of Taylors Lakes Primary School for being resilient and considerate of their peers as amazing school captains; Mong and Andy of Albion North Primary School for always trying their best and for being helpful, responsible, considerate and deeply welcoming of other students; Adriana and Dylan of St Albans for always helping others, being great listeners and supporting their peers; Louanne and Renato of St Albans Meadows Primary School for being exceptional students and showing compassion while always thinking of others and exemplifying the values of the school; and Alisha and Alayna of Sydenham-Hillside Primary School, who excelled in all curriculum areas while displaying their schools values as exceptional school captains.

Congratulations to all of these worthy winners of the 2021 Fraser primary leadership awards, and thank you to all of their schools for nominating them. I hope for all of these students and for all of these school communities 2022 is an easier year.

I also want to highlight the outstanding work being done by the SDA and the TWU and, indeed, by unions across the world which are seeking to end some of the appalling working conditions and unacceptably low wages of many Amazon workers. As Black Friday sales begin in Australia and many other countries, Amazon workers will face undeniable pressure and stress to fulfil orders across the world and, of course, across Australia. The race to the bottom on wages and secure jobs is a global problem, and Amazon is a prime example. Amazon Flex drivers aren't even getting the minimum wage in many circumstances. They have few rights and are often pressured to drive dangerously overloaded cars to avoid being sacked on a whim. While profits soar for Amazon, which saw a doubling of its profits in the first half of 2021 compared to 2020, workers are often left with little or no pay rises and working long hours without breaks.

As the union for Amazon online retail work, the SDA has worked tirelessly to stop the Americanisation of wages in Australia and to improve working conditions. The TWU is also working hard to protect safe standards for transport workers who deliver Amazon's goods to their consumers. Thanks to the SDA and the TWU for their leadership in forming the Online Retail and Delivery Workers Alliance to protect workers in every step of the supply chain, a secure job with a fair wage does not have to be a thing of the past for Australian workers.

Low wages and poor conditions are deliberate design features of this government's economic policies which have resulted in falling household living standards, something unthinkable for generations preceding ours and the worst decade for real wages growth since the Great Depression. Unlike this government, the SDA, the TWU and the broader union movement will not stand by and allow working conditions to be undermined—nor will Labor members in this House. It's time to make Amazon pay.