Tuesday, 29 November
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (20:09): The security of payments working group that the Nick Xenophon Team have put forward as their first set of amendments is no solution. It is not a fix. It really is an embarrassment. It is an embarrassment because it shows just how bereft this team has become when it comes to dealing with this legislation, because it does not deal with the problems of payments, of phoenixing and of the insolvency that is inherent in this industry and that will become worse under the legislation that we are now seeing. In fact, moving these amendments in the form they have been moved, with this extraordinary proposal of a working group, acknowledges that there is a huge problem. But all they come up with is a working group. I share Senator Cameron's concerns about this.
I have worked with Senator Xenophon on procurement issues. That issue will be coming up shortly in a Greens amendment. That is where I hope that Senator Xenophon will stay committed, as he has been in the past, on this very issue. This is where we can bring some substance into this legislation and ensure that at least one small aspect of it does the right thing for construction workers, the right thing for the people of Australia, rather than giving them such onerous legislation that will not be changed in any way with the amendments before us now.