Fair Work Bill 2008 home page including full text of bill and explanatory memoranda here.
FAIR WORK BILL 2008
SECOND READING SPEECH
THE HON JULIA GILLARD MP
MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS
I rise today one year on from the election of the Rudd Labor Government to deliver on a promise Labor made to the Australian people. Today we deliver the creation of a new workplace relations system, one that allows Australia to grasp the promise of the future without forgetting the values that made us who and what we are.
Over a century ago at Federation, Australians decided that we would be different to other nations. Democratic, yes. With parliamentary institutions, judicial independence and individual rights similar to those of other great democracies like the United Kingdom and the United States of America, but without their wide social inequalities.
And our Australian version of fairness began with industrial relations:
- with the concept of the living wage, determined first in the Harvester Judgement;
- with the idea that people's democratic rights don't cease when they step onto the factory, shop or office floor;
- with recognition of the need for time for family, relaxation and community; and
- with an end to divisive industrial conflict.
Before the November 2007 election, this set of values - which instill the essence of the Australian genius for fairness and enterprise - was attacked by the values contained in Work Choices.
The philosophy that underpinned Work Choices said, essentially: make your own way in the world; without the comfort of mateship; without the protections afforded by a compassionate society; against odds deliberately stacked against you. No safety net. No rights at work. No cooperation in the workplace to take the nation forward.
More than anything else, the 2007 election was a contest between these two visions of what Australia should be. And in November 2007, the Australian people settled the matter for once and for all. They chose to be true to the Australian ideal of a fair go. Their decision cost a Prime Minister not only his Government but his seat in this House.
They chose to reject Work Choices and all it stood for, and to put in its place the promises Labor made in its policy statement Forward with Fairness. They gave the Rudd Government the strongest possible popular mandate for the introduction of this Bill.
One year on from our election, the Rudd Government now delivers in full on those promises........