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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 1070

Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (19:44): Minister, that is a nonsensical proposition that you are putting up. Here is a clause that is about a major building company agreeing to employ more apprentices in agreement with the union and its employees, and the bill restricts that. You talk about companies being able to manage their own affairs. Surely part of managing your own affairs is being able to negotiate an enterprise agreement with your employees and their representatives. That is managing your own affairs, surely. Yet what this bill does is stop what has been bargained for for many years in industries all over the country—an effective ratio of tradespeople to apprentices. In fact, if there were not clauses in agreements over the years, many of the 1.6 million Australians with trade certificates would have no trade certificate and no trade. I cannot understand for one minute why this would be a restricted element of the code. If you can explain it a bit better and go to the logic of it that would be handy, because you have failed to do that so far.

I want to go to another agreement. It is a Queensland agreement. The agreement says, 'In the event of redundancies required during the life of the agreement, in occupational classifications where both Australian workers and temporary foreign workers are employed temporary foreign workers will be made redundant first, given that temporary foreign workers are intended to supplement the Australian workforce.' Would this clause be code compliant?