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STANDING COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS
29/04/2009
Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2009
STANDING COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS
Senate committee
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2009
Final

CHAIR (Senator Marshall) —I declare open this public hearing. On 19 March 2009, the Senate referred to this committee an inquiry into the provisions of the Fair Work (Transitional and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2009 for report to the Senate by 7 May 2009. This bill is the first of two bills which make transitional and consequential provisions in relation to the new workplace relations system set out in the Fair Work Bill 2008. The bill repeals the Workplace Relations Act 1996 other than schedules 1 and 2; it makes transitional provisions to move employers, employees and organisations from the old Workplace Relations Act system to the new system; and makes consequential amendments to Commonwealth legislation essential to the operation of the Fair Work Act.

Witnesses appearing before the committee are protected by parliamentary privilege. This gives them special rights and immunities, because people must be able to give evidence to committees without prejudice to themselves. Any act which disadvantages a witness as a result of evidence given before the Senate or any of its committees may be regarded as a breach of privilege.

We will be finishing at 12.15 today so that senators are able to attend the funeral of the former Deputy Clerk of the Senate. We will reconvene on Thursday at nine o’clock to complete the hearing program. I want to thank witnesses who were scheduled to appear today who have accommodated this committee’s need to attend that funeral. We do appreciate it. Much will be said about the former Deputy Clerk, Anne Lynch, in the Senate when the Senate resumes, so I do not intend to say very much today except that on behalf of this committee and its former members and chairs I express that we deeply regret the passing of Anne Lynch. Anne was very highly regarded by the Senate and made a very valuable contribution to our democracy.

I ask participants—those appearing before us and those behind—to switch your mobile phones off or to silent. I welcome our first witness.

Senator HUMPHRIES —Before you do that could I associate my colleagues and myself as deputy chair of this committee with your expression of regret for the passing of Anne Lynch. Certainly, she was highly regarded and her passing is an occasion of great sorrow for a lot of people on our side of the chamber as well.

CHAIR —Thank you, Senator Humphries

[9.03 am]