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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2366


Senator CHAPMAN —by leave—In the withdrawal of this notice of motion by Senator Bell we have witnessed yet another extraordinary episode in the saga of the government's Industrial Relations Reform Act. Senator Bell's notice of motion has been withdrawn because we have just seen the president of the Industrial Relations Commission replace regulations that were directly contrary to provisions in the Industrial Relations Reform Act.


Senator Kernot —You cannot disallow them as they are not there any more.


Senator CHAPMAN —If the Democrats would just listen—


Senator Kernot —How can you give a speech on it?


Senator CHAPMAN —I can give a speech on it as I have leave. We have seen this notice withdrawn because the president of the commission has replaced regulations that were directly contrary to the provisions of the Industrial Relations Reform Act. Senator Bell's notice of motion sought to prevent those regulations coming into effect.

  The legislation was changed by amendment in the Senate because the original legislation as planned by the government required that notification be given to trade unions of matters that were coming before the commission with regard to enterprise agreements. The Senate amended the legislation to make that obligation simply an obligation to publish the fact that a matter was coming before the Industrial Relations Commission. However, the regulations as originally drafted, to which Senator Bell and the opposition were going to object, made provision for the notification to be forwarded to trade unions, contrary to the intent of the legislation passed through this Senate.

  We are now satisfied that the new regulations comply with the provisions of the act as passed by the Senate at the end of last year. That is why this notice of motion has been withdrawn by Senator Bell. But in supporting that withdrawal I seek an assurance from the minister of the legal advice to the minister that the new regulations signed by President Deirdre O'Connor on 28 June 1994 are different from those they are intended to replace and are therefore in compliance with the Acts Interpretation Act.