There’s concern that the Liberal and National parties are failing to represent the weight of membership opinion.
Brisbane-based Juanita Gibson is a member of the Queensland LNP and the Subcontractors Alliance, which has been lobbying for security of payment along a number of lines.
Ms Gibson presented resolutions that have been successfully debated at party conferences and moved through the process towards adoption as policy.
One resolution (#24) was to do with reinstating section 18(5) of the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act that was removed under the Newman Government, Ms Gibson said.
“Later in the year I received communication from head office that resolution 24 was being referred to the Prime Minister’s office for consideration,” she said. “The response was, ‘…when next in Government, the LNP would be willing to consider the implementation of this resolution’.”
Later in the year Ms Gibson took a motion to the Federal Nationals Women’s Conference that, ‘… This Federal Conference calls on the Federal Government to implement national standards and regulation for the security of payment in the Building and Construction Industry’.
The motion was carried almost unanimously.
“In both circumstance I was incredibly encouraged and supported by the women of the LNP and the Nationals,” Ms Gibson said.
“At both of these events membership heard and understood the arguments and voted to support changes to policy.
“The membership made a choice and yet I wonder does the membership actually count at all to these parties?
“I have neither seen nor heard any reasonable response from any of the politicians I have spoken with since, although some have shown compassion for the plight of the subcontractor.
“They are either unable to orchestrate a clear reply because they do not know what the party stance is and so are helpless, or disinterested. The conservative parties need to realise that subcontractors are small to medium-range businesspeople that number approximately 85,000 in Queensland alone.
“Isn’t part of the policy of these parties to support and encourage business, Prime Minister Turnbull’s favourite term at present is ‘innovation’, well we definitely need some innovation on security of payment legislation.”