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Cash, Sen Michaelia
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Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee
(Senate-Wednesday, 18 April 2012)
CHAIR (Senator Marshall)
- CHAIR (Senator Marshall)
Content WindowEducation, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee - 18/04/2012
MAMMONE, Mr Daniel, Director of Workplace Policy and Legal Affairs, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
MICK, Ms Marie-Luise, Policy Research Assistant, Workplace/Legal Affairs, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
CHAIR: I now welcome representatives from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Thank you for joining us. We have received your submission, and I invite you to make some opening remarks to the committee, to be followed up by some questions.
Mr Mammone : Thank you. ACCI welcomes the opportunity to appear before this committee to give further evidence beyond our written submission on the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2012, which makes amendments to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act. We are here to talk about our submission. There was also a submission which preceded an earlier inquiry, as the committee is aware. ACCI made a submission in 2009 in response to an issues paper, and that is also attached to our submission and should be read in conjunction with this submission.
ACCI has engaged with the inquiry that was led by the government in 2009. It engaged with KPMG, who assisted the government with its inquiry, and more recently it was invited to participate in an implementation advisory group and constructively engage with that process. ACCI supports workable and sensible policy measures which have the capacity to make a real improvement and enhance gender equality. Such measures do not necessarily involve additional new legal obligations. Simple and effective measures include national campaigns, working with industry to develop voluntary codes and guidelines, further education of the wider community and building capacity for industry to develop their own tailored arrangements that meet the unique circumstances of the industry and enterprise. A summary of recommendations we made in an earlier written submission in 2009 is provided at page 3 of our submission. To highlight, the three recommendations were: firstly, that the agency or its successor should focus on providing education, advice and tools to all firms but give particular consideration to providing additional resources to nonreporting firms, including assisting firms to develop their own voluntary policies and initiatives in the workplace; secondly, establish initiatives to facilitate the identification by senior management, board directors and chairmen of boards of women who could be available for election to major corporate boards; and thirdly, review how particular aspects of the government's fair work industrial relations system in the form of individual flexibility arrangements were impacting access to flexible working arrangements, and how union restrictions on accessing individual flexibility arrangements impact female workers.
ACCI, as we said, constructively engaged in the development of the measures which were announced by the government. However, this does not mean that it supports the proposals which are currently before the parliament. Consistent with ACCI's views in its earlier 2009 submission, ACCI did not call for additional reporting obligations nor did it call for so called minimum standards to be established and imposed on reporting firms. This was based on extensive feedback to ACCI from employers preceding the office for women inquiry. Whilst much of the existing framework has been retained, including limiting reporting obligations for medium-to-large firms, the measures go above and beyond the existing requirements, which will have many significant consequences. This is contrary to what ACCI recommended in 2009.
At page 4 of our submission we say it is important for the committee to put into context how well Australia is tracking internationally on key performance indicators considering the existing regulatory framework. Whilst we outline a number of those positive measures, there is always room for improvement on key indicators. Australia's standing in the international community is well regarded. When we look at assessing the impact on reporting firms that the measures propose, at this stage the bill does not articulate what will be the gender equality indicators and does not set any minimum standards. These will be prescribed by the minister in the future. Therefore, it is impossible for ACCI to conduct a proper cost benefit analysis of the measures without this information. Firms which would be subject to the proposals will be required to collate and collect new information and make this, subject to some limitations, publicly available to the proposed new workplace gender equality agency, to employees, to unions and to the public.
ACCI believes there should be consideration of better incentives for firms to be encouraged to improve on their own gender equality targets voluntarily rather than being possibly penalised with a possible reputational damage in a name-and-shame approach or financially impacted by being locked out of procurement.
Business confidence in the reporting framework may be sapped if it is thought that the reporting obligations and minimum standards are either too onerous or unworkable. The technical non-compliance by the firm may have little correlation to how the firm is engaged in maintaining or improving gender equity and diversity outcomes.
In our submission at page 10 we query why the public sector is excluded from these measures. Internationally it is noteworthy that New Zealand requires reporting obligations only on the public sector and not on the private sector. Recently the United Nations Women New Zealand national committee along with New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women and Dr Judy McGregor of the Equal Opportunity Commission launched a campaign recently based on the United Nations Women's Empowerment Principles. A principles based approach is what ACCI believes would be a better approach in improving gender and diversity outcomes. In this sense we say that there is a disparity between what we are told is good for business and what standards the government and its agencies have set for themselves. At a minimum, if the new measures are expected to apply to the private sector then the private sector expects equity in application of regulation and standards. The ACCI believes that the existing act should be improved but this in terms of providing further consideration to the existing regulatory burden of reporting obligations and considering nonregulatory measures to improve gender and diversity outcomes. A detailed examination of the bill is provided at page 12 of our written submission in terms of the technical aspects of the bill. We have raised a number of questions and queries and have asked the committee to consider those. We understand that the relevant department will be appearing later this afternoon, and they would be in the best position to address and respond to some of the questions that we have raised at page 12. I will highlight a number of those technical issues. At page 14, subparagraph l. we say:
There are tensions in the policy objectives within the Bill and between existing laws on industrial relations and antidiscrimination.
CHAIR: Just on that, you have been through a consultative process with the government, have you not? Haven't you had an opportunity to raise all these questions?
Mr Mammone : I guess to put it in perspective, as I said before, we have constructively engaged with the implementation advisory group. I am a bit constrained in what I can say, given that participants were required to enter into a deed of confidentiality. I am not sure whether I am allowed to talk about—
CHAIR: The only reason I raise it and interrupt you—and I do not want to really interrupt you in the broader sense—is that you are suggesting that we can ask your questions of the department later. That is fine, but my understanding is that you would have already asked these questions and already have the answers. Why would you be asking us to re-ask those questions?
Mr Mammone : I take your point. We have raised a number of those issues. What we are saying here is not inconsistent with what we have raised in the past. We still remain unsatisfied with the answers.
CHAIR: I would prefer you to actually say that.
Mr Mammone : I apologise. I may have misunderstood what you were asking. They still remain as outstanding issues and we still have question marks about a number of those aspects and how this is actually going to work. Just to finish off my opening statement, the other point that we have made in terms of technical aspects, at subparagraph m. of our written submission, we note that we still believe it is:
.. unclear how s.4 of the Act which states that “[n]othing in this Act shall be taken to require a relevant employer to take any action incompatible with the principle that employment matters should be dealt with on the basis of merit” reconciles with the proposed minimum standards.
We say that 'If an employer states that it has recruited persons on the basis of merit and not gender, and this is a reason for technical non-compliance,' we raise the question as to whether the employer will still be named and shamed and locked out of procurement. That is our opening statement, Chair.
CHAIR: I thought that sounded fairly clear to me, but that is something that we can take up with the department. Can you tell me what percentage of your members do you think actually have a proactive equal employment opportunity that is had led to equal opportunity within their firms? I ask this in the context that you suggest that we do not need a legal framework to achieve equal opportunity, that we can do it without a legal framework. But here we are with pay inequity and a lack of equal opportunity. If you say that can be done, can you tell me how many of your firms are actually doing it and have achieved it?
Mr Mammone : The ACCI network obviously spans quite a number of employers. There are over 350,000 employers that we represent—small, medium and large. I will sort of unpack that and talk about each component. When we look at the smaller employers, within their capacity and resources, they have developed their own policies. Obviously when you have got a small business the owner works in the business itself and goes—
CHAIR: Let's just limit it to the size of the companies that are going to be covered by this bill.
Senator CASH: Companies of 100 plus.
Mr Mammone : Sure. Obviously the committee is aware that the ASX has guidelines that commenced in full from 1 January 2011. That has not had time to really work and play out. We are not sure what the impact is, but we definitely support those sorts of voluntary measures that have been adopted by the ASX that look at listed companies, the larger companies. We think that the good work that has been developed there should continue and that it should have time to play out to determine the impact. Obviously, those things take time. If they only commenced on 1 January 2011, we would expect to see some trends starting to emerge.
CHAIR: Now you are actually saying to me that a legal obligation does in fact drive change.
Mr Mammone : All I am trying to say is that we have the existing legislation and we engaged in good faith in terms of what employers told us about the impact of the existing reporting requirements and the impact in terms of the red tape compliance and outcomes—
CHAIR: I will jump in there for a second, too. If a company is not actually collecting the information from within itself how does it know how it is doing? If it is collecting that information from within itself, how more difficult is it then really to report that? Isn't it the reality that most companies have not got a clue what is going on about gender equity in the workplace?
Mr Mammone : I am not sure that I can agree on the last statement. I am not sure that all companies have not got a clue—I could not make that claim. I imagine that many companies have a very good idea of the composition of their workforce. Without doubt they would have information on at least gender, the categories of employment in terms of gender, salary information and data—
CHAIR: If that is true, what is the problem?
Mr Mammone : I think that what we have said in our submission is that the crucial aspect of what is proposed is: exactly what are the gender equality standards that employers will be required to collate? We have no idea at this stage exactly what employers will have to collate apart from those broad based gender equality indicators. The minister will prescribe in 2014 what those indicators will be, but at this stage we have no firm idea exactly what employers will have to provide within those gender equality indicators. If you are asking me whether we support what is proposed in relation to the gender equality indicators, we have raised a number of issues with a number of those subparagraphs, which expand upon the existing requirements. Apart from the gender composition of the workforce, we have raised the issue of what exactly is equal remuneration between women and men. Is it the same as what the Fair Work Act, for example, prescribes? It is a very different concept from discrimination legislation. Until we have further clarity about what will be prescribed, it is very difficult, as I said before, to know what will be required from firms.
CHAIR: In your verbal presentation to us you suggested that a better way to approach it would be to provide incentives for firms to do the right thing on gender equity. Isn't the incentive of doing the right thing incentive enough?
Mr Mammone : We have equal opportunity for women awards and the like and we have public recognition of being a best practice employer; those are the types of incentives that we are supporting and encouraging. They are what we talk about in terms of encouraging employers to be best practice employers in their right and within their own capacity.
CHAIR: I think that is a point. I do not think we are at cross-purposes on this point, because if all the companies did in fact do the right thing, and actually had proactive policies and were working to achieve gender equity, we would not require the legislation. I do not really have anything to back this up apart from anecdotal evidence, but I think and my gut feeling is that while there are heaps and heaps of companies that are very proactive about doing the right thing—even if we talked about thousands—they are insignificant when you compare them to all employers who are covered by this legislation, the vast majority of whom are not doing the right thing and have no intention of doing the right thing unless they are prodded to. That really is where I see we are at. I am just putting that to you; I am not sure you really need to comment on that. It comes back to whether we let people do the right thing if they want to. I do not think we can afford the luxury, because historically that has not worked.
Mr Mammone : In our submission, we do set out a number of indicators on how Australia is tracking in terms of the increase in female participation over time—it has increased—and all of those positive things that have occurred. We just do not want to get that lost in the sense of basically tarnishing ourselves and saying that Australian employers are not doing any heavy lifting at all and have not had any improvements over the years within the existing—
CHAIR: To achieve gender equity should not be described as heavy lifting, but I know you probably did not mean it in that context.
Mr Mammone : No.
Senator CASH: In your opening statement you referred to the fact that ACCI had been unable to conduct a proper cost-benefit analysis of the impact of the yet to be known regulations, in particular in relation to the minimum standards and gender equality indicators. What are the consequences for business of not yet being able to conduct a proper cost-benefit analysis?
Mr Mammone : The impact is uncertainty, and obviously business does not like uncertainty in what it has to comply with. The policy intent was clear when the government announced what it was going to do to amend the existing framework, but, as we say, at this stage the detail around what employers need to comply with and what the minimum standards will be is unknown until 2014. There is no way employers can prepare for 2014 until that is known, obviously. The other thing employers would be concerned about is that, if they have the ASX guidelines that they are working to comply with on the one hand as against these proposed guidelines, there may be some inconsistencies at the end of the day. We support one framework of compliance and not multiple frameworks. We still have the discrimination framework and a few other frameworks.
Senator CASH: If you have multiple frameworks for compliance and there are potential tensions between the frameworks, is it ultimately possible that this will have a negative impact upon gender equality in the workplace?
Mr Mammone : I think we have said as much in our submission. When you have discrimination provisions and adverse action provisions in the Fair Work legislation that prescribe certain behaviour; you have anti-discrimination legislation which requires exemptions for taking special measures at the state and territory levels and the federal level; and you have these provisions—which, in one sense, could be a de facto quota system if we are looking at board composition or employee numbers to improve against, so employers would have to proactively recruit possibly more workers of one particular sex to improve against a government set minimum standard for the industry—then there are inherent tensions and problems. I say again: until we know what those indicators and standards are, we cannot really assess the impact.
Senator CASH: Senator Marshall put to you that your evidence was that business did not require a legal framework for gender equality. I would argue, and this is what I read from your submission, that there are already a number frameworks in place. You are not saying there should not be a framework; you are saying that there are already a number of frameworks in place and this is another framework on top of those.
Mr Mammone : That is certainly what our submission points out. We have listed a number of points and I think it is important that the committee is aware of the existing regulatory framework.
Senator CASH: I take you to point 25 on page 7 of attachment 2 of your submission, where you say:
This is a real regulatory and compliance issue for employers, in seeking to comply with multiple jurisdictions and sometimes conflicting duties which may lead employers into double-jeopardy …
What is the impact of that on an employer?
Mr Mammone : The double jeopardy that we refer to is highlighted in our written submission at page 14. One example is a High Court decision in Australian Iron & Steel Pty Ltd v Banovic. In that case, the employer, in trying to remedy past discrimination and encourage more female employees, found itself against the discrimination provisions when it applied a last-on first-off redundancy principle which disproportionately affected the most recent recruits, who were females. Those are the sorts of situations the business does not really want to be in; they really want to know what the legal framework is and how they can comply with it. If they are trying to comply with one legal framework and possibly falling foul of unfair dismissal, adverse action or discrimination, then obviously it is not a situation we support.
Senator CASH: Has this been adequately explained in the explanatory memorandum?
Mr Mammone : As we point out in our submission, in terms of the technical aspects—and particularly the existing section 4 provision where 'nothing is taken to be incompatible with the principle of engagement on merit'—we are just not sure how all of that reconciles.
Senator CASH: I received advice from the department in relation to a question that I put to them about the the intersection with the Fair Work Act and a potential conflict with this legislation and the requirements on employers. The answer I received from the department was, 'It is not intended that this new requirement be inconsistent with the workplace protections under the Fair Work Act.' Are you satisfied with the department's answer that 'it is not intended'?
Mr Mammone : Without looking at the detailed response of the department—
Senator CASH: It is not a detailed response, I assure you. It is two lines saying 'it is not intended'.
Mr Mammone : Unless it was absolutely clear in the explanatory memorandum and the second reading speeches—
Senator CASH: It is not; that is the reason I ask the question.
Mr Mammone : If it is not clear—and it does not seem to be clear—then it remains a concern.
Senator CASH: It is not a legal defence for your employers that the department says it was 'not intended'?
Mr Mammone : No. And it is an issue we have raised in our submission: what is an employer to do when, under pain of one penalty for noncompliance under these measures, there are two possible sanctions in a range of other areas. Quite significant financial penalties could be applied. Given the choice, a rational employer would probably side with the one that has the least penalties attached to it, and it is quite legitimate for the employer to make those decisions. This is not encouraging a situation where employers know what the legal obligations are and know what to do to comply with it.
Senator CASH: And know what the inherent tensions are with other frameworks already in place.
Mr Mammone : Yes, because, if we are looking at the Commonwealth level, there are multiple obligations that exist. Even at the level of Commonwealth and state interactions, state legislation on discrimination is not overridden by Commonwealth legislation necessarily, where an applicant can make a complaint. It is all of these issues. They are genuine issues. We do not raise them to cast doubt on all of the proposals. We are not satisfied that they are adequately addressed in either the explanatory memorandum or what essentially you have just indicated.
Senator CASH: I asked the FSU this morning about their submission. They talk about flexibilities and they blame 'inflexible job design' et cetera for a lack of equal opportunity in the workplace. I asked them whether or not the flexibilities they were looking for could be achieved through individual flexibility agreements. They have taken that question on notice.
I notice that on page 7 of your submission you say:
o. New provisions under s.65 of the Fair Work Act 2009 allow employees to request flexible working arrangements, with an employer only able to refuse on limited grounds;
Could you take me through the impact of an individual flexibility agreement and tell me why they cannot be used to actually achieve the outcomes under this particular piece of legislation—or can they be used?
Mr Mammone : I think there are two aspects of the flexibility question. There are the section 65 provisions of the Fair Work Act, which enable an employee to request flexible working arrangements. That applies to some employees that require changes to working requirements because of care and responsibilities et cetera. Notwithstanding section 65, employees currently have the ability to request a change, and they do that. They do not necessarily need the provisions of section 65 to do that.
The other issue is the individual flexibility arrangements that are available under both modern awards and enterprise agreements. I will just take modern awards and enterprise agreements. In each modern award there is an individual flexibility arrangement standard clause. It deals with a range of matters that can be tailored, depending on the suitability to the employee and employer. However, it must meet a better off overall test against the award. In our experience, employers are reluctant to engage in those, even at the request of the employee, because of the risk involved in the employer in getting it wrong against the better off overall test. There have been recent decisions of Fair Work Australia that suggest that. Even the explanatory memorandum example in the Fair Work Act cannot be entered into at the moment given decisions of Fair Work Australia, which cast doubt on whether it actually could be achieved. I guess that is one issue we have raised in a separate inquiry to the review of the Fair Work laws.
On an enterprise agreement side, we have concerns that unions have a deliberate industrial strategy to limit the number of matters that can be dealt with in an individual flexibility arrangement. They are limiting those matters to very benign issues such as tea breaks and meal breaks, and not allowing the full suite of flexibility, even in the model flexibility clause that the government prescribed in the Fair Work Act. So we do have concerns that we have raised in another forum about individual flexibility arrangements. But in this context, if we are talking about having a suite of industrial relations arrangements that underpins flexibility and gives those employees who require it the choice they want, then that needs to be considered by this committee. There are improvements that we have recommended in the review of the Fair Work laws, but those would be to actually make it more certain for both parties that an IFA not to be terminated on four weeks notice, to have a lengthier time for a range of matters to be dealt with and to provide certainty for employees and employers.
Senator CASH: One of the bill's primary objectives is to promote workplace consultation between employers and employees on issues concerning gender equality. Would you say that that already occurs in the workplace?
Mr Mammone : By and large, we would say that employers constructively engage with its workforce. It would have little interest to do otherwise. To have a healthy relationship with the workforce it has to engage. There are a number of objectives expressed in these proposals. Some of those talk about enhancing productivity et cetera. Whilst those are laudable objectives that we would agree with, I guess what we are looking at is what exactly the measures are, what they are proposing and how they would meet those. By requiring firms to collect a whole range of information and meet so-called minimum standards for an industry, we are not sure how that aligns with improving communication in the workforce and the like.
Senator CASH: I will put a number of questions on notice to you, in the interests of time. Point 32 on page 11 of your submission states:
There is a disparity between what is being told is good for business and what standards the Government and its agencies have set for itself. At a minimum, if the new measures are expected to apply to the private sector, then the private sector expects equity in the application of regulations and standards.
Are you able to describe to me—and if you need to you can take it on notice—why you say the standards are different between business and government and why you say the new Gender Equality Act should apply to government as well? What are the benefits if it was to apply to government?
Mr Mammone : I can take that on notice and provide a lengthier response. The short answer is that, when the original act was established—and we have set out a little of the history in terms of the genesis of the act—there was an alignment between what was required in the private sector and the public sector. What has happened is that these new measures that have been proposed here create a chasm between what the public sector will still be required to report on, which is nowhere near what employers are going to be faced with.
Senator CASH: The chasm is what I would like you to explain. That is exactly what I would like to hear about.
Mr Mammone : There are some inconsistencies between the public sector and higher education—and why that is the case is unknown. But, putting that aside, it does not really instil confidence in the private sector when business is saying how good these measures will be for business and for the private sector employees when it does not believe it should comply with these same requirements. They are legitimate questions for the business community to ask.
CHAIR: How do you think the private sector stacks up against the public sector on gender equity now? Do you think it is starting from the same baseline, or do you think it is different?
Mr Mammone : Given that there is no homogeneity between the private sector and the public sector, it depends on which department of the public sector. It depends on a whole range of—
CHAIR: No, across the public sector. You are talking about across the private sector. Surely we can compare that with across the public sector.
Mr Mammone : I am not saying I can make a broad statement about the private sector in total. Within the private sector, within industries and even within subgroups of industries and different businesses within a subgroup of an industry, you will have a diversity of the composition of the workforce. So it is impossible for me to generalise for the private sector and the public sector. The point I was making in our submission and in response to Senator Cash was that, given that the government has expressed a policy commitment and has now introduced legislation in this area, it is signalling to the private sector that these are the expectations the government has of the private sector; these are not the expectations it has of its own employees.
CHAIR: Come on, Mr Mammone; you know full well that, given that the government runs the public sector and puts in place policy objectives, it is actually steaming ahead on gender equity across the public sector because it can directly influence that. It is a very different comparison that you are seeking to make in that respect.
Mr Mammone : I do not have the ABS figures in front of me but, recalling the latest APS stats in terms of the gender pay gap, the public sector are predominantly on enterprise agreements. There are issues to do with enterprise agreements having higher pay rates than those on awards. If you look at the private sector, we have got a diversity of award reliant, and non award reliant. So I cannot really answer it unless I actually have a look at the data. If the government is improving and has a good track record, then it does not seem that there would be a difficulty in complying with these measures.
CHAIR: That is a good point. So if anyone has actually got a good track record and is complying with the objectives, none of them will have difficulty complying with these requirements, whether they be public sector or private sector
Mr Mammone : We do not know what the requirements are. So all we are saying is that in broad policy terms—
CHAIR: But you say the government will not have a problem doing it but the private sector will.
Mr Mammone : Just to be clear: what we were saying in our submission was that, in broad policy terms, what has been proposed for the private sector is different from what has been proposed for the government—and within what has been proposed, there are unknowns.
Senator BILYK: Thank you for your submission. I want you to quickly clarify something for me. In your submission, where you talk about assessing the existing framework, you say 125 organisations were named as employers of choice for womenin 2012. Are they all members of the ACCI?
Mr Mammone : I would have to take that on notice, given that we have got 38 members.
Senator BILYK: How many members, or businesses, does ACCI represent?
Mr Mammone : ACCI represents 38 chambers of commerce and industry associations. Those 38 represent a diversity of employers and, in total, in excess of 350,000 businesses across Australia.
Senator BILYK: So, out of 350,000 businesses, 125 organisations were named Employer of Choice for Women. Even if they all belonged to ACCI, it is not a particularly good percentage, is it?
Mr Mammone : The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency provide that citation and that award. It is not really anything I can—
Senator BILYK: But you are saying a record number of businesses received the citation. That may be true, it may be a record number, but it is still not a particularly good number even if they are all members of your organisation—125 out of 350,000 is not particularly good, is it?
Mr Mammone : I am not sure if I can actually either agree with the proposition or engage with it. As I understand it, the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency has a range of criteria which businesses themselves put forward. The businesses themselves nominate, as I understand it—
Senator BILYK: But if they were all doing such a good job would they not all be nominating? That is my argument, really.
Mr Mammone : I think in an ideal world all employers would badge themselves as employer of choice and receive the accolades.
Senator BILYK: But obviously they are not.
CHAIR: You do cite it in your submission.
Senator BILYK: Yes, you do cite it as evidence—
Mr Mammone : We say it in the context that there appears to be a trend, with more organisations receiving the citation since it was established, and to illustrate that employers are proactively and voluntarily doing what they can to meet that criterion and to try and get those awards and citations.
Senator BILYK: My reading of that is that you are saying, 'Businesses are all wonderful.' If 125 businesses have received that citation out of 350,000 that your organisation represents, then I do not think that is a particularly good number. I also want to talk to you about the media release by your organisation of 1 March 2012 which says, 'For more information contact Chief Executive, Peter Anderson, or the Director of Communications, David Turnbull.' It talks about the intention being sound in regard to the bill. Can you outline any of the key benefits of the EOWW Amendment Bill to business? Is there any benefit?
Mr Mammone : There is certainly an emphasis on education and on providing tools to businesses. That is something we support upfront in both of the submissions that we have made. We are encouraged by that. The agency will assist not only reporting firms but also non-reporting firms, and that is also an encouraging sign. We are not opposed to the government looking at what improvements can be made to the existing framework, but I think our emphasis is: what are the key issues; what is the data saying; what are some of those things that, for some industries or for some employers, the agency can target? Those are the things that we are supporting.
Senator BILYK: It does mention that there has been good consultation in the lead-up to the amendments. From that media release overall, presumably you are happy with the bill?
Mr Mammone : We have made a number of submissions in terms of the technical aspects that to this day have not been adequately addressed, so we cannot really say whether we support the bill. At the moment we cannot support it without knowing a lot more information, particularly: what are the gender indicators and what are the standards?
CHAIR: We will have to leave it there, I am afraid, because we are out of time.
Senator BILYK: I have a couple of questions to put on notice. I will just flag those. The media release says:
Many firms have developed innovative ways to support and enhance equity and diversity in their workplace.
I am not sure what 'many' means. Could you send to the committee—obviously you will need to take this on notice—say, a dozen examples of innovative ways that have been reached? Once again, this goes to the media release. I gather that you are not particularly happy that 'businesses which fail to meet these government targets, will be named and shamed in public reports, and may be locked out of government tendering contracts', to quote the media release. Why would you not agree with that proposal?
CHAIR: Sorry, we are out of time, but, if you could send a response to that, that would be good. Thank you, Mr Mammone and Ms Mick, for your presentation to the committee today.