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Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Page: 9118

Senator BOYCE (Queensland) (11:07): When I was last speaking on this legislation, I was canvassing the dangers of the way it will allow unions and employees from different organisations to compare wage rates. Whilst the government is very aware of the difficulties that could arise out of this, it is very hard to come to any other conclusion but that they have deliberately set this up as a tool for unions to push for above award wages in organisations where this currently does not happen.

In more general terms, this legislation could have been very useful to us. It could have taken us into a situation where we have active work on the part of all stakeholders to ensure pay equity and to ensure that it is being actively worked on by employers and others. It is interesting that the government has taken itself out of the equation. The Business Council of Australia has pointed out that the cost of including the public sector was given in the regulatory impact statement as a reason for not requiring the public service to be subject to the new legislation. What a bizarre outcome we have, and yet more and more red tape and regulation is being forced onto businesses.

Many organisations have found that they do have a pay equity issue when they look at the data, but this needs to be done in a way that they will not feel that— (Time expired)