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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Page: 1598


Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (10:51): I listened carefully to the contribution of the member for Melbourne but I have to advise that the government will not be supporting his amendments. The government's position on the ABCC has been clear for a very long time. We have committed to the Australian people that we will replace the ABCC with a new body to provide a balanced framework for cooperative and productive workplace relations in the building and construction industry—a body that is part of our fair work system but which is a specialist body. We have committed to a strong building industry regulator to ensure lawful conduct by all building industry participants, a strong set of compliance arrangements and penalties for conduct in contravention of workplace law. We committed to a review of building industry regulation and we committed to introduce safeguards for the use of coercive examination powers to achieve the balance required to ensure compliance with the law and the fair treatment of individuals. This bill honours our government's commitments.

I do acknowledge the work of the Greens in proposing this set of amendments to the bill and in particular their proposed amendment seeking to limit further proceedings when matters have settled. The government understand the policy intent of the Greens amendments in limiting the exposure of the building industry participants to multiple and ongoing proceedings. But, as the House has seen in the last half hour, the government have its own amendments which limit the capacity for the new Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate to commence or continue litigation, but only where the litigation on the same subject matter has been discontinued because the building industry parties have settled their difference. We want to ensure that all building industry participants are not the subject of multiple proceedings in relation to matters that have already been the subject of discontinued litigation, as well as ensuring the resources of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate are appropriately targeted to matters which remain unresolved.

The SPEAKER: The question is that the amendments moved by the honourable member for Melbourne be agreed to.

A division having been called and the bells having been rung—

The SPEAKER: Without wanting to be too pedantic, I remind those honourable members who do not have a jacket on that, while it is certainly in order to come into the chamber to vote wearing whatever you are wearing at the time, it is technically disorderly to remain in the chamber during debate. While I do understand that we have a number of divisions, and I probably should not be too strict on this, I would ask honourable members to note this for the future.

I have also had complaints from a number of honourable members that they are not able to hear other honourable members in the chamber because of the strength of the PA system. I have asked the Clerk to look into that matter.

As there are fewer than five members on the side for the ayes, I declare the question negatived in accordance with standing order 127. The names of those honourable members who are in the minority will be recorded in the Votes and Proceedings.

Question negatived, Mr Bandt, Mr Wilkie and Mr Katter voting aye.

The SPEAKER: The question now is that this bill, as amended, be agreed to.

Question agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.