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Thursday, 2 December 2004
Page: 66


Senator SHERRY (1:56 PM) —I move amendment (5) on sheet 4427:

(5) Schedule 1, page 6 (after line 26), at the end of the Schedule, add:

3 After Division 8 of Part VIB

Insert:

Division 8A—Validation of industrial action taken in support of certain agreements made before 2 September 2004

170NBA Validation etc. of certain industrial action

If:

(a) industrial action has been taken; and

(b) that industrial action would have been protected action pursuant to section 170ML but for the fact that it was taken in support of claims wholly or partly pertaining to matters other than permitted matters;

then that action is taken to have been protected action.

Labor certainly believes it is appropriate that this amendment applies to protected industrial action already taken. Unions and their members, who took industrial action in good faith, believing on reasonable grounds it was protected, should have legal protection from any action which might subsequently be taken against them.

The Liberal government has omitted such a validation from its bill on the basis that it would be legally complex to do so. Labor's amendment shows that validation can be effected quite simply. From opposition, we can draft that amendment; the government should be able to do it. The amendment provides that, if industrial action has been taken and that industrial action would have been protected action but for the fact that it was taken in support of claims wholly or partly pertaining to matters other than permitted matters, the action is to be taken to have been protected action. It is a very, very fair approach. It is balanced. I commend the amendment to the committee.