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Wednesday, 1 June 1994
Page: 1107

Senator MURPHY (5.33 p.m.) —Thank you, Madam Temporary—

Senator Crane —He can't help himself.

Senator MURPHY —It is very true. Senator Crane is right. I cannot help myself when I have to listen to so much rubbish from those opposite. I have to say a few things—

Senator Panizza —You can always leave.

Senator MURPHY —I am grateful for Senator Panizza's contribution because it is equally worthless. ILO convention No. 137 is still relevant to Australia as it recognises the economic benefits of new methods of cargo handling in docks and the measures required to mitigate adverse repercussions on the conditions of work of employees in the industry. It provides a policy for the encouragement of permanent or regular employment for dock workers in article 2; measures designed to prevent or minimise detrimental effects on dock workers when reductions are being considered in article 4.2; and appropriate safety, health, welfare and vocational training provisions for dock workers in article 6.

  The convention does not stand in the way of enterprise employment. The convention does not prescribe any particular mode of waterfront employment. The convention recognises that improved methods of cargo handling have clear economic benefits. The convention aims to encourage the provision of permanent or regular employment for dock workers. Those opposite keep raising the unemployed people in this country; I suggest they would do well to support this convention. Furthermore, it recognises that reductions in the work force may be necessary as a result of factors affecting the industry, and does not establish unreasonable impediments to such action being taken. Circumstances where there is individual enterprise employment are recognised. The register proposed by the bill will not affect enterprise employment arrangements.

  As for the statement that the Stevedoring Industry Finance Committee has no powers in relation to employment arrangements, employment engagement arrangements are specified in preference provisions established under the 1991 consent award, which is also another very important matter that this government has maintained in its industrial relations legislation. The award provisions determine who can or cannot be engaged by employers. The register will list the names of those who have been engaged in, and are doing, the relevant work only where, under the government's amendments, an employer does not maintain time and wages or other prescribed records. That is exactly what this is about, nothing else.

  The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Teague)—I shall put the question on clause 20 separately. The question is that clause 20 stand as printed.

  Question resolved in the negative.