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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 199

(Question No. 665)

Senator Jones asked the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice, on 28 February 1984:

(1) Will the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations take immediate action on one of the recommendations contained in the research study on community youth support scheme (CYSS) and young women and begin discussions with the Australian Council of Trade Unions and employer organisations on the introduction of an amendment to current industrial legislation to render illegal the dismissal of employees solely on the ground that they have reached 18 years of age and whose performance and work behaviour cannot otherwise be faulted on reasonable grounds.

(2) Will the Government also legislate to make this activity illegal through the current anti-discrimination legislation.

(3) Will the Minister also set up a Departmental inquiry through Commonwealth Employment Service offices, CYSS and other services for unemployed people to invite evidence and examine this problem in greater depth and report back accordingly to the Federal Government for action.

Senator Button —The Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (3) The Government is opposed to any practice by employers to dismiss young people when they reach adult wage status, and will continue to pursue options to discourage such action.

The Conference of Commonwealth and State Labour Ministers in March 1984 noted that Professor Byrne's report on the community youth support scheme had dealt with exploitation of 18-year-olds, particularly in regard to the termination of their employment upon reaching adult wage status. On the basis of those discussions, the Bureau of Labour Market Research has been requested to prepare a report on evidence concerning exploitative incidences in relation to 18-year- olds.

(2) The Government through its committees on discrimination in employment and occupation is able to investigate allegations of discrimination on grounds of age. The responsibility for these committees rests with the Attorney-General.

The committees currently do not have legislative backing. In the context of the Government's proposals for a human rights package, the future legislative framework for its responsibilities under International Labour Organisation Convention III will be considered.