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Tuesday, 3 May 1994
Page: 19

Senator MURPHY (3.21 p.m.) —I think it is important to pick up on the question that has been raised by Senator Tierney. He seems to have stretched the string to his bow across a much wider range of problems with regard to DEET and its administration of employment funding programs. He raised a matter with regard to the jobstart program. People are put on the program, and there are guidelines. I think Senator Tierney is aware that those programs are reviewed, that there is some checking but that because of the sheer magnitude of the programs and the number of employers involved it would be impossible to check each and every one.

  Those opposite adopt a hypocritical stance. They come into this chamber and take some political opportunistic approach. But at the same time as doing that, they question the government about reducing expenditure in some of these departments. There is a big difference between CES and DEET. DEET has the responsibility of providing a program to an employer. Industrial matters between employees and employers are the concern of the Department of Industrial Relations. All employees, whether they be under jobstart programs or just under general awards, have the right to go to the Department of Industrial Relations to lodge a complaint and have their complaint dealt with in the correct manner.

  There are two different issues here. One issue relates to the Department of Employment, Education and Training and employers, and the other issue relates to employers and employees. Those opposite have suddenly become the disciples of concern for employees. In its strategy at the last election the opposition was looking at a $3 an hour youth wage. The opposition was going to have a free employment market where workers would have to go out and bid for their jobs. What sort of protection was the opposition going to provide? None! Senator Schacht's answer was correct: Senator Tierney needs to get his facts straight and deal with the two questions in the correct manner. The question of protection of employees goes to the Department of Industrial Relations.

Senator Patterson —You have lost the plot.

Senator Tierney —You have lost the plot totally.

Senator MURPHY —It is not a matter of losing the plot. Senator Tierney asked a question with regard to the people who were abusing the system, but the opposition wants to wind up these programs. I suggest that those opposite wait and see what is in the white paper when it is announced tomorrow.