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Monday, 18 November 1996
Page: 5543

Senator MARGETTS(9.55 p.m.) —Senator Murray says that he would like to seek the call, so I am very happy to speak very briefly to allow Senator Murray to take the call. I do not know how, but Senator Campbell managed to somehow represent the Greens (WA) as wanting to go back in time. No, we want to go forward in time. We actually believe in workplace democracy. We believe in the new workplace. The new workplace of real best practice is, in my belief, the ability to bargain collectively, to reduce the vertical decision-making process and to increase the democracy within the workplace so that everybody can benefit.

That is my vision of the workplace. It is certainly nothing like the position Senator Campbell seems to think he wants Australia to be in. If this is the vision the coalition is saying it has for industrial relations, then in fact you are saying that you are hoping everything is going to work out okay.

For all of the people who heard all of the evidence in this committee of inquiry, to suggest that you can put a provision in a bill on the basis that human nature will be terrific is ridiculous. We have to make legislation on the basis of how it might be misused. In a very competitive environment, we have to assume that if it costs less to do things in a certain way then that is the way it will happen.

How many times have we heard industry say, `If you're going to want standards, you're going to have to have them legislated, because our competitor will not use the same standards.' That is what they are saying these days: if you want standards enforced, they need to be legislated. Industry of course wants industry based standards. They know the reason they want that. They will not have to enforce them.

But in this particular case, in relation to human nature, if you allow a provision to be misused, it is ridiculous to leave it so open for misuse. I am not saying that industry is bad. I am not saying that business is bad. But I am saying that there is copious evidence that people are human and that these kinds of issues will come up again and again. It is very silly not to address these kinds of errors in the bill when we see them instead of coming back at very short notice to try to fix them.