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Monday, 6 June 1994
Page: 1291


Senator CRANE —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Industrial Relations to Mr Brereton's recent statements announcing changes to the termination of employment provisions in the government's industrial relations reform legislation. I particularly refer the minister to the effect of the timing of these proposed amendments. I ask: will the minister make these proposed amendments retrospective? What will be the status of the 600-plus claims currently made? Will the minister be proposing any restrictions on the making of claims between the announcement and when the exemptions are in place, or will the minister allow a flood of claims?


Senator ROBERT RAY —Mr Brereton has indicated his approach in principle to this matter. The actual legislation has not yet been drafted. When it is drafted, Senator Crane will be able to see for himself. I do not know whether it was implied in Senator Crane's question that he supports retrospective legislation. I note his views with great interest.


Senator CRANE —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Nothing was implied in my question. What is quite clear is that the minister cannot answer the question. It is another one of the examples where Senator Ray is shooting in the dark, Mr Brereton is jumping around like a yoyo, and they do not know what they are doing. At least Mr Brereton now recognises that his legislation is a lemon. I ask further: what will be the position for similar structures based on the daily hire system in industries separate from the building industry? Will they be treated in the same way as the building industry or will we have two standards as far as that is concerned?


Senator ROBERT RAY —As I indicated to Senator Crane before, when the legislation is through the due government processes he will be able to read it and debate it in this chamber, and find out then.