SENATOR MURRAY WATT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR QUEENSLAND RESOURCES
LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR HERBERT
LABOR CANDIDATE IN THE SENATE
THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2022
SUBJECTS: One year anniversary of One Nation’s deal with LNP to sell out casual workers; Scott Morrison treating Queenslanders like second class citizens on flood assistance; Morrison’s Queensland MPs failing Queensland.
JOHN RING, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR HERBERT: Today is the anniversary of One Nation voting with the LNP Government and Phil Thompson, to keep casual workers in insecure work. This is an issue because I speak to several people in the community that tell me that being in insecure work means they can't afford to buy a car. They can't afford to buy a house. And those expenses they need to get their kids to school, to put food on the table, with the cost of living going up, is making it worse.
EDWINA ANDREW, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR THE SENATE: I think the importance of permanency in employment in the regional Queensland area is even more vital. We have people who are trying to attract employees because they can't offer permanency of employment, people aren't going to relocate. People need to know that they have a secure job at the same rate, the same pay as everyone else in that environment and in that town before they'll travel and to relocate.
MURRAY WATT, SHADOW MINISTER FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA: Thanks, John and Edwina. It's great to join you here in Townsville. And we've just had a really terrific meeting with the new Vice Chancellor here at James Cook University, which is obviously a really essential facility and employer in Townsville, the capital of the north, so terrific to be back here with you.
As John and Edwina said, the main reason we’re doing media today is to highlight that it is the one year anniversary of One Nation and Scott Morrison's LNP government doing another dodgy deal in the Senate to screw workers, particularly in regional Queensland. North Queensland and Central Queensland have seen an epidemic of casualisation in recent years. It's been very much highlighted in the mining industry where we've seen a pattern of labour hire casuals being brought into the mining industry over recent years, being paid less than permanent workers and of course, not getting the job security, leave and other benefits of permanent workers as well. But this goes well beyond just the mining industry. In almost every industry now in regional Queensland, we see an increase in casual work and an increase in other forms of insecure work. And that's obviously a terrible thing for the workers and their families themselves to not have that job security. But it's also really damaging for regional economies because if people don't have job security, they don't feel confident to spend, they can't get home loans, they can't get car loans. And that really puts constraints around the growth of regional economies as well. So it is definitely worth highlighting this one year anniversary, an anniversary of shame from One Nation, Phil Thompson, as the local member here, and the LNP generally. And I think it's particularly worth highlighting the role that One Nation played here. We know that One Nation spend a lot of time in electorates like Herbert and elsewhere in North and Central Queensland, going around pretending to be friends of the battlers. But every time they go down to Canberra, they vote with the LNP to screw battlers, to make life harder for them, to make them stay in casual work, to take government benefits off them. And it's about time that their true colours were highlighted so that people know what they're getting when they come up for election at the next federal election.
The other thing I just wanted to highlight today, as a Queensland Senator, is Scott Morrison again failing Queenslanders when it comes to flood assistance. I've obviously spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks in both southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales in flood regions, meeting with people who have lost everything they own. They've lost their homes, they've lost their businesses, they've lost, in some cases, they've lost loved ones. And it doesn't matter where I've been, whether it be in Queensland or New South Wales, there are so many people who are hurting so badly and now they're hurting even more, because Scott Morrison is giving preferential treatment to flood victims in New South Wales over Queenslanders. Right now we have a situation where in many parts of New South Wales, flood victims are receiving $3,000 in disaster assistance per individual. But in Queensland, just over the border, we’re only getting $1,000 per disaster victim or per flood victim. There is no explanation whatsoever for treating people differently. Floods don't have borders. These floods were in Queensland and New South Wales and we've got thousands of people on both sides of the border who have lost everything they own. I think Queenslanders are getting pretty sick and tired of Scott Morrison treating us like second class citizens. We know that he's the Prime Minister for New South Wales. He didn't declare a national emergency after the floods in Queensland but he did in New South Wales, and now he's paying New South Wales flood victims three times what flood victims in Queensland are being paid.
And I think the question also has to be asked where are his MPs on this? At the last election Scott Morrison said that it was Queensland that delivered victory to his government. They now hold 23 out of the 30 House of Representative seats in Queensland, and a number of those seats in the southeast corner were severely impacted by the floods. Over the last few days we've seen two Coalition members from New South Wales speak up about their areas being ignored by Scott Morrison. And that had an impact, that forced him to change position and extend the higher rate of flood assistance to other parts of northern New South Wales. But so far, we haven't heard boo from one Queensland federal LNP member about the fact that Scott Morrison is screwing their communities right now. So it's about time they did their job, stood up for their communities, just like we saw the New South Wales Coalition members do and it might then have an impact and Scott Morrison might then stop treating Queenslanders like second class citizens. John and Edwina, would any of you like to add anything more?
RING: I’d just like the people of Townsville, who are stuck in insecure work and labour hire and stuck on casual employment, to realise that they're there because of the local Federal member Phil Thompson and One Nation. Phil Thompson and One Nation are responsible for people being stuck on insecure work in Townsville.
ANDREW: Also, the importance of people being able to stay in their own town with the impact of casualisation. The impact of lack of accessible jobs in the regions is even more significant for our people living in those areas. There isn't another job around the corner. The job that's available is all that there is and if that job isn't permanent, and that’s not stable, our people are going to have to move and they'll have to end up in somewhere that is not part of their community, away from their family, away from their society and away from their community. And that's just not good enough. People need the same opportunities no matter where they live.