Senator Doug Cameron
Senator Doug Cameron Labor Party Speech Senate

Senator CAMERON:Firstly, Minister, can you advise as to whether you have any feedback from the department—it should be pretty easy; you have come in here to debate the bill—as to the numbers and the demographics of people that are on the bill, the industries and those questions that I asked. So I would ask that.

Before I sit down, let me just come to One Nation’s so-called contribution. One Nation do not even know what this bill is about. One Nation has just said that this is about work. The minister has been at pains to say that it is not work. This has been one of the big issues. Probably, we would agree with Senator Hanson that, in reality, this is work. Young people are going to be put into a situation in which they will get less than the minimum wage in this country. They will be carrying out work for an employer who will be subsidised by the government. No wonder the employers all say this is a great program. They are being provided subsidised workers. Senator Hanson is correct that this is work. It is not work experience; it is work—and it is being subsidised by the government.

It makes me really wonder about One Nation—even more than I have always wondered about One Nation! The truth came out from Senator Hanson and One Nation towards the end of that contribution. One Nation just wants workers to come to work where they are intimidated by the employer, where they can be stood over by the employer, where the employer can treat them with absolute disdain and with a lack of respect and where the employer can do away with wages and conditions. And, yet, the employer should have the right to sack that worker. That was the contribution, basically, from Senator Hanson. That was the contribution.

How dare One Nation come here and question the opposition’s pursuit of fairness in the workplace. Where was Senator Hanson and One Nation when Work Choices was introduced by this mob across the chamber, when workers were getting their penalty rates ripped away and when their annual leave loading was getting ripped away, when their minimum hours were getting ripped away and when they were casualised and compromised in their conditions?

One Nation were nowhere to be seen. One Nation are not the champion of battlers in this country. And the more working people hear from One Nation about not just their loopy views on a whole range of issues but their aggressive anti worker views the better. The more debates that Senator Hanson contributes to in this place the better it is for progressive politics in this country because we simply see what One Nation are all about, and that is cuddling up to the Liberal Party. They are simply a branch of the Liberal Party to the far Right, working with the Liberal Party to rip working people off.

This is not simply about an opportunity to get jobs; it is an opportunity for employers to rip people off, and none of the checks and balances that are in place are really there to protect young people in this country. Again, One Nation say they are concerned about youth unemployment. Maybe they should come in here and work with the opposition, the Greens and the crossbench to look at how we can actually develop industry in this country, develop jobs, and not simply hand over $50 billion to the big end of town as a trickle-down approach to economics.

One Nation really need to understand these issues a bit better than was demonstrated in that pathetic contribution that they just made. One Nation were dragged kicking and screaming against their will to stand with the majority of senators in this place to protect penalty rates. No-one should forget that Senator Hanson and One Nation’s first and foremost position was to support the ripping off of penalty rates from workers in this country. So One Nation have no credibility when they come in here and talk about looking after young people. We got the message right at the end of One Nation’s contribution, and that contribution was the employer should be allowed to hire and fire as they like—no protections.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR ( Senator Gallacher ): Is someone in the observers’ area taking photos of the chamber? You are not allowed to take photos in the chamber.

Senator CAMERON: Get the Federal Police in and get that phone off them right away! It is a joke.

Senator Dastyari: The best ones have to be explained.

Senator CAMERON: That is right. You would know all about that, Senator Dastyari. Explanations seem to be your forte recently. What we have here is a real problem, that young people are being put in a position where they can be ripped off. Minister, can I ask you: do you have those answers to the questions that I asked?

Attribution: Parliament of Australia Chamber Senate on 10/05/2017 Item BILLS – Social Security Legislation Amendment (Youth Jobs Path: Prepare, Trial, Hire) Bill 2016 – In Committee Speaker :Cameron, Sen Doug