Monday, 28 Nov 2022

Were desperate: David Pocock town hall hears pleas to pass industrial relations bill

Were desperate: David Pocock town hall hears pleas to pass industrial relations bill


Were desperate: David Pocock town hall hears pleas to pass industrial relations bill

So much of politics is what occurs between elections - not what politicians say when they are asking for your vote, but how they listen, and whether they can balance competing demands.

Senator David Pocock is a good listener - at ease fielding questions at the Gunghalin Theatre in the ACT on Wednesday, his third town hall since he was elected in May.

But balance is much harder, especially on the topic this evening: Labor's industrial relations bill. The independent says he agrees with most of it, but still has some concerns.

Pocock serves a territory of more than 400,000 residents with the earnestness of a teal MP. Elected on the same platform as the other Climate 200-supported candidates (climate, integrity, women), Pocock faces his biggest early policy test in an area that barely featured in their campaigns.

Pocock has gathered constituents to ask questions about the secure jobs, better pay bill, with the workplace relations minister, Tony Burke, on hand to answer the thornier ones about the problems with the Fair Work Act it seeks to update.

Burke's set piece is a redux of his National Press Club address from earlier on Wednesday. He's honed the stump speech to focus on the "single-interest" bargaining stream, the most contentious part of the bill, which Pocock has proposed be dealt with next year.

Burke argues that it isn't just the low-paid who need a wage rise so this section, aimed at those on middle incomes, can't wait either.

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