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Wednesday, 25 September 2002
Page: 4824


Senator MURRAY (11:56 AM) —I move Australian Democrats' amendment (3) on sheet 2621 Revised:

(3) Schedule 1, page 4 (after line 2), after item 1, insert:

1B After subsection 170MW(2)

Insert:

(2B) Genuinely trying to reach agreement includes bargaining in good faith.

The amendment attends to the act itself. Section 170MW(2) of the Workplace Relations Act states:

A circumstance for the purposes of subsection (1) is that a negotiating party that, before or during the bargaining period, has organised or taken, or is organising or taking, industrial action to support or advance claims in respect of the proposed agreement:

(a) did not genuinely try to reach an agreement ...

The whole provision refers to genuinely trying to reach agreement. The government has, quite properly, placed great emphasis on the need to genuinely bargain. I think the importance of Labor's initiative in terms of good faith bargaining is to recognise the link between the two and to acknowledge that in the case law and the precedents that exist, and an understanding at jurisprudence and in commission and tribunal matters, what good faith means—you need to recognise that genuinely trying to reach agreement includes bargaining in good faith. The purpose therefore is in law to acknowledge that section 170MW(2) refers to that difficult area. I call it difficult because it is difficult to establish how people reach agreement. I wish to acknowledge that genuinely trying to reach agreement includes bargaining in good faith. Subsequent to that, of course, I will attempt to move my good faith amendment which develops that in greater detail. I see the two as linked but they can stand alone. (Quorum formed)