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Thursday, 14 August 2003
Page: 18626


Mr HATTON (9:52 AM) —I want to bring two issues to the attention of the House that I have been dealing with in my electorate in the last week. At this point I do not wish to mention the names of the individuals whose cases I have been taking up, but I would like to flag that I will be pursuing these cases in greater depth in the future. The first case concerns a person who has been employed under a federal award since about 1998. His employers have attempted to cut across that federal award and its conditions and demanded that he take a decrease in pay of $258 a week and sign a new Australian workplace agreement. Quite rightly, he has insisted on his original contract and his conditions in that award. He has suffered a loss of pay of $258 a week since April. He has no current recourse to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission—although it is my hope that his case can be rejuvenated there. He may, through the lack of cooperation of his employers in the conciliation process, be forced, together with his union, to go to the Federal Court—at great cost to the union, to him and to the Commonwealth—rather than resolve this, as it should be resolved, directly through the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

The second case I have dealt with which I want to bring up is that of a person who sells phone cards. Phone cards are now widely sold here. They provide, supposedly, cheap calls to countries overseas—in particular in my electorate calls to Vietnam and to the Middle East. These are services which are bought wholesale from Telstra and the other major providers and then resold at significantly lower rates. His concern is that there is a great deal of fraudulent activity in the sale of phone cards and the manner in which these companies are run. Companies are run into the ground, closed and then reopened which has a direct cost to people who have bought the phone cards in that they are no longer useable or reliable. He has also pointed out a number of issues, which I will take up at greater length later: that is, the conditions purported to be on offer in brochures that are put out are not attached in the newspaper advertisements that these companies use to push their products. I give notice to the House that I will be pursuing, firstly, the defrauding of people in my electorate in relation to the use of phone cards and, secondly, the depredations of award conditions of one of my electors.