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Monday, 13 October 2008
Page: 5824

Senator LUDWIG (Minister for Human Services) (7:49 PM) —The point will be when the legislation itself gets created and we can argue about what the objects might be in that. This will start the work for the facilitation of model OH&S legislation, in which case an objects clause can be considered by the government to be put where it will do best in providing the outcomes of prevention of workplace death, injury and disease—in the actual OH&S legislation itself. I think, quite frankly, that it is a small issue, in that you are arguing about the objects clause in the facilitative legislation. My focus is on the outcome, which is the harmonised OH&S legislation. We can have a serious debate then about what the objects clause may or may not look like should I still be in this role representing the minister—which I hope will be a short time. I hope it is a quick process, quite frankly, because it is important to get that through.

The fact is that we also tabled the Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety when we introduced this legislation. We made our intention plain; therefore, with due respect, we do not see a requirement for an objects clause in this legislation. The important point will be the outcomes. We are outcomes focused. I can recognise that I do not have the numbers in this place, but I would ask you to reconsider. The point that I am making is that the test will be the outcome—the OH&S legislation—and we can argue about the objects clause at that point and what should or should not be included in it.