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Wednesday, 30 May 2007
Page: 117

Mr ANDREN (5:49 PM) —by leave—I move amendments (1) to (10) as circulated in my name:

(1)    Schedule 1, item 1, page 5 (lines 16-24), omit the definition of salary.

(2)    Schedule 1, item 1, page 7 (line 13), omit paragraph (a), substitute:

              (a)    the AWA was or is lodged on or after 27 March 2006; and

(3)    Schedule 1, item 1, page 7 (line 15) after ‘AWA’ insert ‘was or’.

(4)    Schedule 1, item 1, page 7 (lines 22-35), omit paragraph (c).

(5)    Schedule 1, item 1, page 8 (lines 31-32), omit paragraph (a), substitute

              (a)    the variation of the AWA was or is lodged on or after 28 March 2006; and

(6)    Schedule 1, item 1, page 9 (lines 4-17), omit paragraph (c).

(7)    Schedule 1, item 1, page 8 (line 34) after ‘AWA’ insert ‘was or’.

(8)    Schedule 1, item 1, page 10 (line 3) to page 11 (line 3), omit proposed section 346G.

(9)    Schedule 1, item 1, page 14 (line 2), omit

         ‘paragraphs 346E(1)(a), (b) and (c)’,


         ‘paragraphs 346E(1)(a) and (b)’.

(10)  Schedule 1, item 1, page 14 (lines 14 and 15), omit

         ‘paragraphs 346E(1)(b) and (c)’,


         ‘paragraph 346E(1)(b)’.

I will be brief in order to comply, reluctantly, with the travesty of this guillotined debate. This process is a classic example of why our parliament so desperately needs a review, an amendment process, hopefully both here and in the Senate, after the next election.

The effect of these 10 amendments is to, firstly, remove the income limit of $75,000 or less for the fairness test to be applied and, secondly, to apply the fairness test to all agreements made since Work Choices came into effect on 27 March 2006. This bill only appeared because the polls look so bad for the government. The mums and dads and battlers out there really are angry about the ramifications of this. Polling, apart from Newspoll, is no doubt telling the government this.

I draw the attention of the House to the situation of a 15-year-old coffee-shop worker in Sydney who is working for a particular chain. It is reported in today’s press—correctly, I assume—that she receives just over $8 an hour for weekend work, compared to the state award of $12 to $15 on Saturdays and Sundays. Her agreement cannot be included under these amendments, nor can she under any circumstances negotiate fairly for herself. It sounds very much like disadvantage to me.

My changes will avoid the creation of two classes of workers who are on AWAs because of their income or because of when they started work. I expect that the retrospective nature of the second change will meet with criticism from the government, but it can be done, as evidenced in the recent well-publicised WorkDirections case. Fair is fair, regardless of when an agreement was signed. As for the added cost of applying the test to all agreements regardless of income levels, the fact that the $75,000 limit should mean that most AWAs are subject to the fairness test still leaves others high and dry. To apply it to all agreements should therefore not involve any substantial increase in the cost of applying the test—and with 600 inspectors employed to administer the fairness test, I think the government has allocated adequate resources to do so. With that, I commend these amendments to the House.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Quick)—In accordance with the wish of the House, the question that amendments (1) to (10) moved by the member for Calare be agreed to is deferred until after debate has concluded on all the non-government amendments.