Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1639

Mr TUCKEY(8.32) —Clause 6 deals with the program and that, of course, is the substance of this legislation because it relates to the work effort. It lists the sorts of things that these particular authorities must now do to comply with this legislation, were it to pass this Parliament. It is quite interesting to me because in 1985, when there was a Federal Labor government and Labor governments in most States in Australia, the Australian Government passed 3,031 pieces of legislation and regulation, all, of course, built under the old system-`I am from the Government and I am here to help you'. One might wonder how we all managed in 1984 without the assistance of all that legislation and regulation. My recollection is we did very nicely, thank you. Considering that some 49,000 pieces of legislation were created in 20 years, one must wonder how well people managed before all that. I tell honourable members that I am old enough to say: `Very nicely, thank you'.

The CHAIRMAN —I trust the honourable member for O'Connor will get to clause 6 shortly.

Mr TUCKEY —Clause 6 is about another piece of regulation, another piece of reporting, another piece of doing all these things. I am aware that my constituents have to bear the cost of this particular program, and they will. The honourable member for Stirling (Mr Ronald Edwards) threw a couple of words in. He used the words `opportunities for women'. He says this legislation is about opportunities for women.

In my role as a small business spokesman, the one advocate that is properly appointed to look after that sector of the community, I received a call from a female businesswoman the other day. She happened to run a successful business in Sydney until it was attacked by the equal opportunity legislation. She employed 50 women and she was told that half of them had to be men and it sent her business to the brink of bankruptcy. She currently owes $60,000 in payroll tax because when she put the men on they did not do the work properly. The other day I interviewed some people from a government department where a lady is very angry because she has been replaced by a token black person. The black person is angry-I interviewed him also-because he has discovered he has been sent to that job without any training when everybody else in that government department has had training. He knows that himself. He is devastated. He was sent there by the Government as a token black. The man is intelligent and he knows what the Government has done to him. He now has the sympathy of his fellow workers. That lady wishes that she could be somewhere else but she has lost her opportunity in the Public Service for promotion because of the Government's rules and because of its need to meet the quota, and the Government wonders why.

The Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations (Mr Willis) should not get carried away with his sad face. It is sad enough in the normal course of events. I am telling honourable members about real live cases but the Government does not want to know about that; it just wants to have more regulation, more legislation and more programs. It does not want to work out how they are affecting the community. This is called, in the community, social engineering.

The other day I interviewed some public servants who were very angry with the Minister. I think it is time the Minister went and checked how they all feel about it. Public servants knock on my door and show me advertisements for employment in the Western Australian Government Gazette. They say: `We are ropeable about this'. The page contains four to six advertisements for jobs at about $30,000 a year for which year 7 training will be sufficient. In heavy black type across the bottom are the words: `Aboriginality will be a distinct advantage in applying for this job'. The public servants are enraged. They are quite happy for those people to have a chance for the job, but they do not feel that they should have a special chance. Unfortunately, the Government's equal opportunity legislation is doing that to other people who have worked hard and are now anxious to get the promotion they deserve.

The Minister knows about his Commonwealth employment programs. He gets letters from local authorities almost daily saying: `Well, you have given us the money. How now do we find the one legged lesbian, the two blacks and the three others that you have dictated we must have?' The Minister knows that that is a slight exaggeration, but the thing is that these people are being told that they cannot have Commonwealth money unless they meet certain criteria and quotas. The Minister wonders why we are objecting to the minor changes, as the honourable member for Calwell (Dr Theophanous) has said, that the Government has inserted in this legislation. We know all about the unintended consequences. We know the process by which, step by step, like dripping water on a rock, the Government increases the socialist grab on this nation. It does it time and again.

I remind honourable members again of the 3,031 pieces of legislation and regulation introduced by Labor governments in Australia in 1985. This is adding to it, and we have good reason to object to it. We have excellent reason to make sure that the Government does not advance it one iota past the position of the last piece of legislation. That is the reason we are entitled to oppose these clauses or to amend them, as we have suggested. The Government would be well advised to do so and it would be well advised to take a little bit of time off and go and talk to the millions of ordinary Australians who are now realising the implications of this legislation. It is no good telling us.

I remember the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) coming in here on the sex discrimination legislation and promising this Parliament that this would not lead to any affirmative action legislation and that the business community need not be afraid of that. That is just another of these promises for which there was a use by date. We put a use by date on all the Prime Minister's promises. Let me tell honourable members about the lifespan of that particular promise because I happened to follow the Minister for Education (Senator Ryan) out after those words were made--

The CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member for O'Connor might come back to the Opposition amendments to this clause of the legislation.

Mr TUCKEY —I am talking to the clause. I know what it is about. It is about programs, and a bit more.

The CHAIRMAN —It would help the Committee to hear your opinion on that.

Mr TUCKEY —Susan Ryan said as I walked out the door: `Now for affirmative action'. I heard her. She was straight into it. That is so much for the Prime Minister's promise that there will be no capital gains tax.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member for O'Connor will deal with the clause here. It is not about affirmative action or capital gains tax.

Mr TUCKEY —Mr Chairman, you could have fooled me in terms of the affirmative action approach. As far as I am concerned, this program is about affirmative action. But I point out that it is affirmative action in certain cases. We are attempting to amend clause 6, which is about social engineering. It is about costs to public authorities which will have to spend more money which they will have to raise from members of the community; this will add to the $71,000m tax burden the Government has imposed on them this year. There will be little benefit for employees because all of them-as others have complained to me, and I have evidenced so far-will be disadvantaged. Employers will be forced to accept token people from outside the organisations. Employees opportunities for promotion, which they have worked hard for with their loyalty to those organisations, are now at risk. We want to limit that risk as much as possible. We want to limit it for female employees and for female employers-a class that I am interested in, as many of them are small business people. We want to limit the risk to them. There is every reason for everybody in this Parliament to support these amendments to see that we at least get a fairer system.