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Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Page: 1068


Senator MURRAY (12:46 PM) —Perhaps I can assist with clarification. Minister, the problem that the academics in particular outlined—and which the committee took on board—is that the draft request to the commission for award modernisation seems to have two irreconcilable objectives, which I have outlined in picking up that particular paragraph in the report. It is their proposition that you cannot do both—you actually cannot do both of those things. Their view is that somebody, somewhere is going to have to suffer. I think that is a practical understanding. The academics suggested—and the chair of the committee is here and can assist us if necessary—a mechanism by which this could be resolved. My question really boils down to this: has the government understood that that is the problem—because of the evidence raised? Will you have a look at it and try to find a means of dealing with what are regarded as irreconcilable, competing objectives? Those objectives are that the process should not disadvantage employees or increase costs for employers. The academics made a clear case as to why it is impossible, in many cases, to do both.