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Monday, 29 March 2004
Page: 22144

Senator LUDWIG (6:01 PM) —The opposition will not be supporting the amendment moved by Senator Greig in relation to placing a two-year sunset clause on the exemption. The YWCA supported the exemption being provided on a case by case basis, which is slightly different, rather than a general exemption, as COTA argued for. It is a very complex area with regard to how those things would interact over time. It is too early to say that a two-year sunset provision in relation to the exemption is the best way to go. Therefore, we will not be supporting it.

There are, as provided in the Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee report, various arguments both for and against the provision. In the scheme of the Age Discrimination Bill that is being proposed, it would serve to see how it operates over time. The provision is an issue that we can always come back to and investigate. There is also the matter of how these exemptions interact with the powers of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and HREOC in terms of complaints and how these matters will work through over time. The AIRC and HREOC have demonstrated a cooperative approach in relation to other matters, and I suspect that they will continue to do so in relation to age discrimination. Until we have some experience with the operation of the Age Discrimination Bill it will be too early to provide general exemptions.

Question negatived.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Lightfoot)—The question is that clause 43 stand as printed.