Senator’s call to arms in maiden speech
UNFAIR dismissal laws should be watered down, while "union monopolies" broken up and taxed in order to create more jobs, LNP Senator Amanda Stoker said in her maiden speech in Parliament this evening.
In a call to arms to conservatives, Senator Stoker said industrial relations desperately needed to be reformed to give employers more room to hire additional staff.
The 35-year-old Queensland senator, who replaced former Attorney-General George Brandis after his resignation, was a barrister before coming to Parliament and has been dubbed future ministerial material by some of her colleagues.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and the majority of her Queensland colleagues were in the chamber for her first speech.
Senator Stoker became emotional as she spoke about the sacrifices her parents made to provide opportunities for her and her sister.
During her speech she said productivity in Australia could be boosted through significant reforms to industrial relations - including major reforms to unfair dismissal laws.
"If we want employers to give a person on the margins of the employment market a chance - even when to do so might be a leap of faith - we need to support them to do so by removing the disincentive of punitive unfair dismissal laws," she said.
"We need to be prepared to take the difficult case for increased productivity to the community which offsets the appeal of raising minimum wages and penalty rates because they will reduce job opportunities for those most in need."
She also took aim at unions, saying the had become overly politicised instead of looking out for members interests, and calling for them to lose their tax-free status.
"A simple way to reduce these abuses of member interests is to end union monopolies. Workers value workplace representation, however, they do not want politicised workplace representation," Senator Stoker said.
"It is the height of hypocrisy that the Left in this country rails against big business, but supports the continued tax free status of unions which have become multimillion-dollar businesses with sophisticated commercial operations.
"When a union is selling insurance, investing, selling education services, and running all manner of start-ups they should be taxed like the business they are."
Senator Stoker also called for more parents to take active involvement in their children's education.
"A large part of the problem with Australian schools' education performance isn't the lack of resources - spending on school education has never been higher - but the lack of effort some parents put into their children's readiness for school," she said.
"When I hear a teacher lament that children in their class are starting school without toilet training, I think of this disconnect.
"Hardworking and dedicated teachers are saying they just can't get the parents of a struggling child to spend some time with them helping to get their reading up to scratch."