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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1812

Senator WALTERS(9.31) —Does that mean that anyone who suffers any sort of job loss, directly or indirectly, as a result of this inquiry, will be able to claim compensation? That is what the Minister has said. I was delighted to hear the Minister say that. If we look at what Senator Richardson said-he was one of the senior speakers for the Government on this--

Senator Coates —Quote him in full this time.

Senator WALTERS —I am quoting from Hansard.

Senator Coates —Quote both sentences this time.

Senator WALTERS —I am. He said:

There is no cutting off of any possibility of compensation for anyone in Tasmania--

Senator Coates —Read the previous sentence.

Senator WALTERS —How much further back would the honourable senator like me to read?

Senator Coates —One sentence.

Senator WALTERS —One sentence-good. He said:

Where a person not covered by the compensation provision in the Bill considers that he or she has suffered loss or damage as a result of the legislation, the Government furthermore will consider compensation for that person as a matter of policy. So one has to say that this Government has looked--

Senator Sanders —Madam Temporary Chairman, I raise a point or order. I draw your attention to the fact that the Chair has already ruled that the compensation would be covered in clause 19.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Giles) —That is absolutely correct, Senator Sanders. Senator Walters, you are out of order.

Senator Walters —Madam Temporary Chairman, I wish to speak to the point of order. Clauses 8 (1) (c) and 8 (2) (c) both refer to loss of jobs. We are seeking assurance that, because both refer to loss of jobs and because the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) has given us an undertaking that there will be no loss of jobs, there will be compensation for anyone losing a job. I am still attempting to read the Hansard. Obviously Senator Sanders is just not interested in jobs in Tasmania. I am trying to read, for Senator Coates's benefit, what Senator Richardson said.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —Senator Walters, you are now debating the point of order.

Senator Coates —Madam Temporary Chairman, I raise a point of order. This clause is dealing with the inquiry and the report, and it is clause 19 that deals with compensation. While there are references to what the Committee shall inquire into and report upon, the question of compensation ought to be dealt with under the appropriate clause. The Opposition opposed the Bill being dealt with as a whole, yet it is trying to have a broad debate on every clause.

Senator Walters —I did not refer to compensation; it was the Minister in her answer who referred to compensation. Senator Watson asked what assurance would be given about the loss of jobs. He did not mention compensation. It was the Minister who assured us that compensation would be given for loss of jobs; it was not us who raised it. Now we are asking the Minister about that as a response to her question. So I am quite sure that the point of order is just not right.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —Senator Walters, it is a nice point because there is no doubt in anybody's mind that the loss of jobs and compensation will be linked. In clause 2 there is an obvious reference to the employment of persons and a diminution in the operations. However, a ruling has been given that those questions of compensation are closely and unavoidably linked with the loss of employment and they should be dealt with under clause 19. If the Minister wishes to answer, of course, there is no doubt she will do so; but it seems more logical to deal with this, as was suggested earlier by the Chairman, under clause 19.

Senator Walters —Does that mean that we cannot ask the Minister any questions on her answer?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —No, it does not mean that. I am simply asking for a little co-operation and sanity.

Senator Walters —May I continue with my question to the Minister?


Senator WALTERS —I read from Hansard. Senator Richardson said:

There is no cutting off of any responsibility of compensation for anyone in Tasmania who considers himself or herself to be affected by this Bill.

So, as the honourable senator said, there is no possibility of any cut off. The Minister has again assured us that compensation will be paid for loss of jobs. I now ask the Minister: Does that apply to everyone who has any loss of income either directly of indirectly as a result of this inquiry?