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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1633


Mr WILLIS (Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations)(8.00) —I simply wish to make a few more comments on this amendment because I really do think that the Opposition has got it wrong. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr N.A. Brown) made the point again that this is some form of interference in the terms and conditions of employment that apply between an authority and an independent contractor. That is simply not so.

All that is being done here is that the definition of `employee' is to include a natural person who is engaged or appointed under a contract for services. It does nothing more than include that natural person, for the purposes of this legislation, amongst the employees to whom discrimination shall not apply. That is all it does. It does not impose anything more on that person, except to include him or her amongst the employees with respect to whom there is not to be discrimination and to whom the program, which is required under the legislation, shall apply. There is no obligation on that person to do anything. It does not interfere with the terms and conditions of employment of such people. It simply includes them in the group from whom discrimination is intended to be removed. I would have thought that was a highly desirable objective. It does not in any way interfere with terms and conditions of employment.

The reiteration of that point by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition demonstrates a misconception on his part as to what is involved in this measure. Quite simply, it is a very simple proposition that the independent contractor, the natural person, who is employed is to be covered by the Act but only in the sense that he or she is treated as an employee to whom the program, which is required to be developed by the authority, would be applicable. There is no other obligation on that employee, that independent contractor-or, if that person had other employees, for him to do anything in respect of them-and no interference with the terms and conditions of employment as between that independent contractor and the authority.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 4 and 5-by leave-taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 6 (Contents of program).