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Employment and Workplace Relations

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Speech: Paid Pandemic Leave

I rise to speak to the Australian Greens Fair Work Amendment (COVID-19) Bill 2020 that I introduced in the Senate during the last sitting. This bill will protect all workers during the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are living through unprecedented times—I don't know how many people have said that or how many times, but it is true: COVID-19 is drastically changing our way of life. This is a global health crisis with no-one left untouched by its impacts. This is a difficult time for all of us, there's no doubt. This is a strange time. This is not a normal time.

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Motion: Unemployment

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) between World War 2 and the 1970s, the average unemployment rate was 2%, and

   (ii) since the 1980s, 5% unemployment has been considered 'full employment' by most governments, even though it means hundreds of thousands more people either have no work or not enough work; and

(b) considers that:

   (i) 'full employment' should mean what most people think it means, namely that everyone who wants a job can get one, and

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Skills 'Overhaul' Without Free TAFE & New Funding Just Press Club Hot Air

The Greens have said that the Coalition government can’t be trusted to rebuild our vocational education system or create jobs, ahead of the Prime Minister’s address to the National Press Club today.

Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Australian Greens spokesperson for Education, said:

“Free TAFE and uni for all and new investment to rebuild publicly-delivered training in our TAFEs are the crucial first steps needed for any skills overhaul. That's the benchmark for the Prime Minister today.

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Motion: Passing of Jack Mundey

I, and also on behalf of Senators McKim, Siewert, Whish-Wilson, Waters, Hanson-Young, Steele-John, Lines, Urquhart, Wong, Keneally, Pratt, Brown, McAllister, Ayres, Bilyk, Walsh, Sheldon, Carr, Watt and Polley move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes the passing of trailblazing unionist and environmental activist, Jack Mundey AO;

(b) extends its sincere and heartfelt condolences to Jack Mundey's family, friends and comrades; and

(c) acknowledges and pays tribute to Jack Mundey's extraordinary legacies, including:

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Motion: Introduction of Fair Work Amendment (COVID-19) Bill 2020

I move:

That the following bill be introduced: A Bill for an Act to amend the Fair Work Act 2009, and for related purposes.

Question agreed to.

I present the bill and move:

That this bill may proceed without formalities and be now read a first time.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a first time.

Second Reading

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to table an explanatory memorandum relating to the bill.

Leave granted.

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Speech: Industrial Manslaughter Laws

It has long been Greens policy to have federal laws on industrial manslaughter and to have them in the Crimes Act so that employers can be held accountable for the tragic loss of hundreds of lives on worksites around Australia. The current patchwork, really, of state and territory laws does not protect workers. I sat on this inquiry, and we heard devastating stories. In many cases the inquest takes so long that the statute of limitations expires, so no-one is held accountable. The system is definitely failing.

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Questions: Union-busting 'ensuring integrity' bills in Committee

The Greens have made it very clear that we oppose this bill. We don't like this bill at all. That's because this bill is a clear attack on workers and on unions and their members. This bill is a political and ideological attack on unions and their members and also the ability for unions and their members to work for the good of working people and for a fair and just society for everyone. This bill is anti-democratic, and that's why the Greens strongly oppose this bill.

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Speech: Union-busting 'ensuring integrity' bills

I rise on behalf of the Greens to speak to the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2019. The Greens strongly oppose this bill. This bill is nothing but a politically motivated attack on unions. It's laughable that the words 'ensuring integrity' form part of the name of the bill when we know that there is not an ounce of integrity in this government and their intentions with this bill. There is not a skerrick of integrity in you lot, and you have proven that again today by disrupting the business of the Senate, and for what?

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