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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1633

Mr N.A. Brown(6.27) —The reply, which is even more perfunctory, from the Minister which we have just heard really does not answer the point. We are entitled to a proper reply. Let me put it in different terms which he may comprehend. Clause 6 of the Bill sets out the requirement for equal employment opportunity programs to be set up or provided. If one takes paragraph (a), which states `to inform employees of the contents of the program and of the results of any monitoring' . . . and if one takes other parts of the program as set out in clause 6 or any other part of the Bill which uses the word `employee', then giving and applying to it the definition which is in clause 3 means quite clearly that by this Bill one is seeking to impose upon a contractual relationship between an authority on the one hand and an independent contractor on the other terms and conditions of employment which the parties may not have agreed upon themselves, which they may not have even considered or thought of or which they may not even want. One is imposing by statute terms and conditions of their employment which is quite contrary to the rights they have to determine their own conditions under the contract. That is what contract is all about.

It is so typical of the Australian Labor Party that it takes the view that one can in a statute simply interfere between the contractual relationship between two persons and say to them: `It does not matter what you agree upon yourselves. We, the Government, know better what should be in the contract between the two of you. We know better, and we will impose this by statute'. How typical of the Labor Party to want to impose upon the private contractual rights between two contracting parties what the Government thinks, in its wisdom, should be imposed upon them. It is exactly that which we object to. It is exactly for that reason that we oppose this amendment-so that it will not be within the powers conferred under this Bill if and when it becomes an Act, or within the powers of the authority, to impose those terms and conditions under this statute.