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Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Page: 108

Senator ABETZ (Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation) (8:37 PM) —If Senator George Campbell wants to absent himself that may be beneficial all around. I can indicate to him that I have in fact answered that question. The problem is that those who are still bogged down in the trade union movement’s views of the 1950s just cannot understand and accept that individuals will make employment arrangements between themselves and their employer. It is always open to the parties, should they want to, to vary an agreement.

In relation to Senator Webber’s alleged expose, we on this side have, unfortunately, found that when the ACTU has put so-called scenarios on television advertisements they have been found to be false and been withdrawn. In relation to Senator Webber’s contribution, I am astounded that if she is aware of this information she should raise it in the parliament without having referred it to the appropriate authorities to investigate. I congratulate the Office of Workplace Services for proactively going to Senator Webber and asking her for the details. I am gobsmacked as to why the honourable senator, having known about an alleged breach of the law, has not gone and reported it to the appropriate authorities. I say to everybody who might be unfortunate enough to be listening to this broadcast that, if they are concerned, they should report their concerns to the Office of Workplace Services because we now have an independent body that seeks to champion the cause of workers to ensure that they do get industrial justice.