Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: I was very fortunate to be able to play professional sport for a few years. That allowed me to go to university. That was the best way I could have ever imagined to work my way through university. I spent a decade after that in a multinational company in the corporate world and a decade after that in private enterprise in the outback, essentially being my own labourer again, digging ditches, serving drinks behind the bar, making beds, cooking hamburgers and trying to be my own plumber and my own electrician—all those sorts of things you do in outback roadhouses.
My story is not special in any way, but it leads me to the very strong view that all people deserve good representation. All people deserve collective representation or at least the opportunity to have it, whether they be employees, employers, trades or industries—everybody deserves that opportunity. However, I am completely opposed to any of those collective representors having undue influence on the market. Of course, they have the right to advocate, the right to inform and the right to negotiate and bargain strongly, but when it comes to undue influence—and this is one of the most important things that the member for Schubert talked about—I am completely opposed to that. In my mind, many unions have undue influence on this parliament. That is something I think needs to change.
With regard to the member for Kaurna changing the motion, that is completely inappropriate too. It is completely inappropriate to have a motion that wants to say that something should be black and to change it to say that something should be white, because we are not even debating now what we started debating. That is completely inappropriate as well. Members opposite talked about the federal government’s work with regard to changing penalty rates. It is very important to put on the record that it was the federal Labor government that set up the independent commission that was to make a determination about what should happen to penalty rates.
That independent commission, established by federal Labor, handed down its determination during a federal Liberal government. The federal Liberal government is just continuing that work and saying, ‘Okay, whatever this independent commission determined, that’s what we will do.’ The federal Labor opposition and state Labor government would have us believe that this is all the dastardly work of the federal Liberal government, when of course it is clearly not the case. The commission was set up to operate the way it is operating under the former federal Labor government.
The other thing that is completely false about that is to imply that the federal Liberal government is getting rid of penalty rates. There is not a person on this side of the chamber who does not believe that there are times when penalty rates should be paid. Of course there are times when penalty rates should be paid, but the substance of this motion is saying, ‘Let’s free up the shop trading hours. Let’s allow workers to have greater opportunity to earn penalty rates on more times than they currently do at the moment.’
The member for Schubert is saying very clearly that if people and families want to shop at flexible hours, if businesses want to sell and trade with flexible hours and workers want to work with flexible hours, let them all get on and do it. Nobody is going to be forced to do any one of those things, but let us find the times, let us find the places where it is appropriate for people to have the opportunity to buy, to sell and to work outside the currently reduced regulated operating hours.
Deputy Speaker, as you know, I represent the electorate of Stuart, and the heart of the electorate of Stuart is the regional centre of Port Augusta. We have very light regulation on our shop trading hours. We have Coles and Woolworths, which are open from 7am to 10pm seven days a week. Our economy is not suffering for it and our workers are not suffering for it. The butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker all still have ample opportunity to trade and to thrive. There are other businesses that benefit because of those extended shop trading hours by the bigger organisations.
For example, cafes, service stations and hotels all find that more people are coming to Port Augusta at a wider range of times. When they are there, they are going to those other businesses as well as to the larger businesses that are allowed to trade in a way that they are not allowed to trade in metropolitan Adelaide. So, it can work. Nobody would be forced to work, but it can work. For that reason, I support the motion by the member for Schubert.