Raising the BARR – Week ending 22 September 2017

Workers Compensation – There Is A Better Path

Last week in Parliament I introduced a new Bill to deal with Workers Compensation.  If my Bill gets accepted and supported, then it becomes law.  Sadly, I suspect the Government will vote against it.  But there are some killer facts that I want to bring to the attention of you, the people that have trusted me to be your voice in Parliament.

First, the Workers Compensation Scheme currently has a $1.5B surplus – which means that it has $1,500 million dollars more than it needs.  Second, the Workers Compensation Scheme was set up to help ALL injured workers ALL of the time, not some injured workers some of the time.  Third, it seems bizarre that the scheme would kick out workers who are still injured and unable to work.

And fourth, and possibly most importantly and alarming; by kicking out (removing from the scheme) workers that are still injured and unable to work, those injured workers are going to be forced to go across to the taxpayer funded Centrelink and Medicare schemes for support.  This is not fair for anyone.  My Bill is designed to make sure that the injured workers are looked after by the Workers Compensation Scheme built for them.  I will keep you posted.

Boxing Day Trading – Who Wins?

Also last week in Parliament, the Government introduced a new law to allow shops and retailers to open on Boxing Day – if they so choose.  For keen shoppers this might sound great.  For me personally I couldn’t think of anywhere that I would less like to be on Boxing Day than in a shop/store.  Labor argued against the new law on three key grounds.

People only have a certain amount of money to spend each year – regardless of whether they spend it across 360 days, 361 days or 362 days of the year.  You know, in reality we only have 4.5 shop-free days in our calendar:  Boxing Day, Christmas Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday as well as a half day on Anzac Day.  Also, having 2 public holidays side by side – Boxing Day and Christmas Day – give people the real chance to travel and see family/friends.  And finally, anyone that has been a casual worker will know that you don’t really get a “choice” about whether or not to work.  Casual workers all know what happens if you say “no” to a shift; you find that you stop being rostered on for any shifts.

Without doubt the best contribution in the debate came from David Harris MP, the Member for Wyong.  He referred to a range studies that show that our drive towards a 24/7 economy is destroying families, communities and having serious impacts on the health of our children.  If you have access to the internet you can find his speech online and it is well worth the read.  It is sobering, possibly alarming!