Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013, Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013; In Committee

10:14 am

Photo of Doug CameronDoug Cameron (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Human Services) Share this | Hansard source

I am just beginning to wonder why this government, for three years, held a position of moving from the Fair Work Building Commission act to the bill that they have here, which has been amended, amended, amended and amended again. Why did we have these three years of rhetoric about the need for all these changes in the Fair Work Building Commission when we are really back to the legislation of the Fair Work Building Commission.

We support this amendment. We would rather go back completely to a position where workers get a fair go in this country and you do not have the code denying workers access to negotiate on reasonable terms and conditions in the building industry—the same rights that workers in every other industry in this country have and are being denied to building and construction workers. I just do not get it. I just do not get this government. There were three years of saying, 'This is absolutely essential to restore law and order in the building industry,' and then they cave-in—anything to get a win; anything to get a position where they can say at the end of the period, 'We have got our ABCC bill through parliament.'

This is not the ABCC bill that the extremists in the coalition want. This is not the ABCC bill that the Abbott crew would want. This is still a bad bill, but they have been pulled back so much that it is an absolute embarrassment for them from where they were with the hard-nosed rhetoric that they were on about. We will support this amendment, but we will be continuing to push a proposition that workers should be able to negotiate and bargain on the same issues as every worker in the country—that is, including building workers. They should have the right to negotiate and bargain on exactly the same terms and conditions as every other worker in the country.

Senator Xenophon, there are the statements that both you and Senator Hinch have made about the worst public servant in the country, Mr Nigel Hadgkiss. I hope that the government starts to listen about having a biased person there. We should just get that fixed. We will support this, but we have other amendments as well.


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