Senate debates

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Trade Practices Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2005

Consideration of House of Representatives Message

11:37 am

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

In the absence of a number of other senators, particularly one who was in the middle of a rare contribution, I will happily speak again on House of Representatives message No. 419. The Trade Practices Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2005 is a bill that the government continually champion because they want choice. They said, ‘We’re going to give independent contractors the choice of being collectively represented by farmer groups,’ and Labor says that that is a fair and reasonable thing. They are going to allow business groups to represent independent contractors, also a fair and reasonable thing—choice. But in this legislation is a nasty little surprise, if you truly believe in choice, because this legislation makes it clear that independent contractors cannot be represented by their union. My union, the Transport Workers Union—and I know a number of other senators who are also proud members of the same union—is not allowed to represent its 10,000 members. What happened to choice? Choice hits the fence pretty quickly when it comes to the ideological binges of this government. John Howard talks about choice, but John Howard has really changed since he won control of the Senate.


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