Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (15:56): I move:
That the Senate-
(a) notes the termination by Hutchison Ports Australia of 97 of its employees by notice given in text messages and emails sent late at night on Thursday, 6 August 2015;
(b) affirms that the method of giving notice of termination of its employees by Hutchison Ports Australia was callous and disrespectful to its employees, and has no place in any workplace; and
(c) having regard to the potential disruption to Australia's ports the dispute may cause, calls on the parties to the dispute to respect pre-dispute employment arrangements and to commence co-operative negotiations to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.
Senator RHIANNON ( New South Wales ) ( 15:59 ): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator RHIANNON: I also thank the Senate for passing this. This will give great encouragement to the workers who are being put in the very difficult position of losing their jobs in such an ugly way. By text and email is certainly not the way any workplace should be conducted. The MUA and the workers who Senator Cameron and I were with, on Sunday, said they just want to sit down and negotiate and that they are very committed to making their work productive. There is already a high level of productivity there and they are ready to negotiate to ensure that this is a well-functioning port. The concern that many of them spoke about is that this company, Hutchison, is very centred on setting up a body-hire system. That is something that we see as a tactic coming from this government where they are committed to stripping down penalty rates, and there was a real concern that what will be critical to winning this campaign is defeating the Abbott government.