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, 7 May 1987
Page: 2876

Mr TUCKEY(10.33) —I make an offer to the honourable member for Brand (Ms Fatin). I know she has a great interest in the welfare of women. I invite her to come to my electorate at the next opportunity she has because I want to introduce her to a female public servant who has just lost an opportunity for a promotion because the things the honourable member says will not happen are happening. The lady is very competent and merited the promotion. The job was taken from her because head office sent a token Aboriginal. I will also introduce the honourable member to the male Aboriginal, a very intelligent person. I have met the pair of them together. He recognises the fact that he is a token Aboriginal because he is the first person to be sent to that office who has not had any pre-training. When he arrived he said: `What will I do?'. All his colleagues said: `You know what to do. You have been pre-trained for this job. You have been selected above this lady who is skilled, competent and experienced'. He said: `I do not know what to do'.

I am not telling the Government what is in its legislation; I am only telling it how it is working in the Public Service. I am inviting the honourable member for Brand to meet this lady because I have met her and she is terming the honourable member's equal opportunity legislation `social engineering'. Irrespective of how the honourable member sees the legislation and how she eloquently argues her case, I want to introduce her to the people she is hurting. I also want to introduce her to another group for which I have a special responsibility in this place, and it is called `employers'. I was one of those for a long time. I want to know when the Government is going to legislate for their rights because, after all, they have the final decision. This legislation charges these people in the Australian Wool Corporation with all sorts of responsibilities. They are charged to deliver on behalf of the people who pay them 8 per cent of the shorn value of their product, their wool. They must do their best for their clients. That should be sufficient for them to wish to choose on merit, to get the very best employees.

I am saying to the honourable member for Brand that there are male and female employers in this community, and they have some rights in deciding who best suits their businesses. I have given the example in this place before and the honourable member would be aware of it. In the hotel industry, in which I conducted business for many years in Western Australia, there was never a separate wages award for women. They were always paid the same as men, and I always chose to employ women. That is a choice that, if I were still running that business, I would no longer have. My choice was made on the grounds that women were better at that job; not because they were cheaper to employ, as was the case in New South Wales and many other States for years, but because they were better. They had a better effect on my clientele. My clientele behaved better when women were serving behind the bar. That was helpful to the running of my business and I believed I was entitled to that choice. There were many other such jobs.

Not one person here can look at my family life, at the business association between me and my wife, and say that I am any sort of chauvinist. We have shared in everything. We have had our arguments but never about money or the right to share each other's property. Never have we argued about that. I am probably unique in that regard. Never in my life have I decided that there were special jobs for my wife in our family arrangements and special jobs for me.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member for O'Connor might stray back to the Bill.

Mr TUCKEY —I believe this is very much about the Bill because I am waiting for the honourable member for Brand to say that I am some sort of a chauvinist. I am begging her to see what is happening to female employees.

Motion (by Mr Kerin) agreed to:

That the question be now put.

Amendment negatived.