Wednesday, 7 September 2022
Statements by Senators
Trade Unions, Independent Review Into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces
Today I want to give a shout out to unionists and the union movement. Over the last few months in New South Wales alone we've seen the strength and energy of educators; nurses and midwives; rail, tram and bus workers; and university staff and students amongst many other unionists. Yesterday we felt that energy from TAFE unionists on National TAFE Day. Today the lawns of parliament are full of early childhood educators who have shut down the sector for the day, closing centres and rallying around the country to draw attention to the impact of their terrible pay and conditions—conditions made much worse by a critical workforce shortage. The solidarity shown in the movement and from the public for each of these actions has been tremendous. As a lifelong unionist myself, I could not be more proud of and inspired by all of this work.
The Greens recognise the vital place of unions in our society and will continue to fight alongside them for fair pay and conditions. We will keep joining you on the pickets and do everything we can in this place to unwind the decade of union-busting, worker-undermining garbage of the former Liberal government. We will push the new government to give workers real power to organise, bargain, grow and participate fully in your workplaces and communities. I am with you all the way. All the Greens are right with you in fighting for your rights and conditions. There has never been a more important time to join your union. Collectively, we can change the world.
I do have a bit of time, so I want to address the matter that was before the parliament just a minute ago. In this parliament, racism is thrown around so easily, and the people who call it out are the people who are penalised. When will this chamber and this parliament actually seriously consider the Jenkins report and the behaviour standards in this chamber, and actually act on them and not keep shouting down and shutting up people who actually call out bad behaviour and racism?