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Wednesday, 1 June 1994
Page: 1103

Senator CRANE (5.04 p.m.) —I would like to make another couple of remarks in response to the minister, and I note his comment that this is where the matter rests. It is interesting to note that the waterfront industry reform process has been achieved—we have pointed out in our second reading speeches that it has a long way to go—through cooperation between the employers on the one hand and the employees on the waterfront or their organisations on the other hand.

  I find it quite extraordinary that, having reached the point we are now at in terms of waterfront reform, the minister can even suggest that those organisations have lost their capacity all of a sudden to come up with good people, the right people, to finalise and finish this particular task. I find that an extraordinary statement. Of course, we now have in legislation a situation where those people appointed to that position could end up not having a direct link with the stevedoring employees or with the employers on the waterfront. That is the situation we could end up with with this legislation.

  The minister and Mr Brereton might give an assurance that that is not going to happen. The fact that the possibility is there and ministers do change make it bad legislation. It is as simple as that. It makes it bad legislation. I wanted to put that point on the record because the starting point for getting the best result is good legislation.