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Thursday, 14 May 1987
Page: 3173


Mr WILLIS (Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations)(11.02) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Industrial Relations (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1987 has three main purposes. The first is to repeal the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904 which will be superseded by the Industrial Relations Bill 1987. As a result of the repeal of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, a number of other Acts will require amendment. The second purpose of the Consequential Provisions Bill is to amend these acts. The consequential amendments made to other Acts are generally of a technical nature and deal primarily with the substitution of references to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act with references to the Industrial Relations Bill. Other consequential amendments deal with the repeal of provisions of Acts which will become redundant on the enactment of the Industrial Relations Bill. For example, those provisions of the Remuneration Tribunals Act 1973 which establish the Academic Salaries Tribunal are to be repealed, as are the provisions of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 which establish the Federal Police Arbitral Tribunal. Both tribunals are to be dispensed with as a result of the rationalisation of industrial tribunals achieved under the new Industrial Relations Bill. Some other amendments have greater significance, including the amendments made to the Coal Industry Act 1946 and the Trade Practices Act 1974. I discussed these in the second reading speech for the Industrial Relations Bill.

The third purpose of the Consequential Provisions Bill is to ensure that the transition from the system established under the previous Act to the system established by the Industrial Relations Bill is as smooth as possible. Most of the provisions contained in this Bill are designed to bring that about. For example, provision is made for the transfer of part heard proceedings before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to the new Industrial Relations Commission on the commencement of the new Act. Awards in force under the previous legislation will, of course, continue and by operation of this Bill are deemed to be awards of the new Commission. Similarly, organisations registered under the previous Act will be deemed to be registered under the proposed Industrial Relations Act. In addition, some matters which are part heard before the Federal Court will continue to be dealt with by that court. Other matters which have not yet proceeded to trial will, by operation of the Bill, be transferred to the new Labour Court. Some proceedings which were instituted before the commencement of the Industrial Relations Act will be completed under the provisions of the old Act, as if that Act had not been repealed. In other cases, where the provisions of the new Act are easily adaptable, the new Act will apply. This Bill describes in detail how each matter before the Federal Court, or the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, will be continued after the commencement of the new Act. The repeal of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act will not result in any disadvantage to parties in the federal system.

Two general provisions are included in this Bill to deal with any difficulties which might arise as a result of the transition from the previous system to the new regime. The President of the Industrial Relations Commission is to have the power to give directions and the new Labour Court is to be able to make orders to resolve any problems which might occur as a result of the transition. I present the explanatory memorandum to this Bill and I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Carlton) adjourned.