Tuesday, 25 June 2013
At the request of Senator Singh, I move:
That the Senate—
(a) commends the Government for taking action to protect Australians from asbestos and continuing to lead the world in trying to eliminate deadly asbestos-related diseases;
(b) notes the establishment of the new National Asbestos Exposure Register in the wake of community concerns after asbestos was found in Telstra pits in four states during the rollout of the National Broadband Network;
(c) acknowledges the response from Telstra to ensure all workers are trained in the removal and handling of asbestos located in its pits; and
(d) recognises the historic legislation to implement the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management by:
(i) establishing the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, which will be dedicated to working with all states and stakeholders to create a nationally consistent approach to the eradication, handling of awareness of asbestos,
(ii) working to develop a public awareness campaign to highlight the dangers of asbestos,
(iii) implementing a prioritised removal program across Australia, and
(iv) playing a leadership role in the global campaign for a worldwide asbestos plan.
It is disappointing that we have this motion of self-congratulation by the government for the government, when each and every member of this place and the other place supported the bill in its passage. Labor rightly accepted a number of amendments that the coalition put forward in a bipartisan manner to ensure that some of the wrinkles were ironed out. Even a CFMEU publication has recognised my role and that of the coalition. If even the CFMEU could be bipartisan, one wonders why Labor in this place could not. That the government can congratulate itself in circumstances where they cut funding to the asbestos agency before it even started speaks a lot louder than self-serving self-congratulatory motions. In a spirit of bipartisanship, given the importance of this issue, the coalition will overlook the crass politics and not oppose the motion.
Question agreed to.