Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News Breakfast -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) Tsvangirai's funeral will be

held in Zimbabwe tomorrow. The Deputy Prime Minister Julia

Gillard has conceded amendments

to the government's new

workplace laws may be needed to

get the Bill through the Upper

House. Ms Gillard spent last

night meeting key cross-bench senators to try to secure enough support for the

government's Fair Work Bill.

One of those senators is the

Independent senator Nick

Xenophon who joins us now from

Canberra. Thank you for joining

us. Have you had time to look

through the eight-page document

that I understand Julia Gillard

has distributed to you and some

other senators? I've looked

through a letter that Julia

Clearly the government is Gillard gave he last night.

moving on a number of fronts.

Concerns by employers about

greenfield sites sow don't have

demarkation disputes. I think

that's been dealt with. Issues

in relation to transmission of

work where a business has been

taken over there has been some

movement there. And also the

privacy issue when it comes to

unions having the right to look

at non-union members' records,

I think the government's

acknowledgeded more needs to be

done there. Also apparently putting Fair Work Australia the

umpire if you like replacing the former industrial relations

tribunal, that umpire seems to

be put front and centre in

terms of new workplace laws. Do

you like that idea? I think

it's appropriate in the context of what the government's trying

to do. I mean, I agree with the

government that WorkChoices was

fundamentally unfair. It's a

question of restoring that

balance. I've had some concerns

in relation to the issues of

privacy as I've indicated, with

union rights of entry, issues

also as to the appropriate size

of the threshold for a small

business. The government says

15 or less is a small business

in the context of unjust

dismissal laws. That's

something that I think needs

some further discussion and I'm willing to borrow a phrase from

the government's own Bill some

good faith bargaining with

discuss these things. What do

you think constitutes a small

workplace? I just want to continue discussing that with

the government. There are some

groups that say that's too low.

Clearly, the coalition's

position of 100 employees or

less for a small business was

patently wrong. It was absurd.

So I just think it's a matter

of getting that balance right

and I'm looking forward to

further discussions with the

government in relation to

that. Just from your tone and

manner today, it seems that

you're a fair way along in being or feeling mollified in

terms of what you're hearing

from the government. You might

be moving towards a place where

you can get on board here? I

think the tone and manner has

more to do with a lack of sleep! (Laughs) Do I take from

that then that you're not

mollified, senator? You can

take that I'm just taking this

on a very considered basis. I

think that's the way to do it.

This is important - it's

important we get the balance right, and I'm looking forward to further discussions with the

government in relation to it.

The government has shown a

willingness to take into

account the concerns of

employers, and I think it's

important that we do make sure

that in the current job market,

we're absolutely vigilant in

ensuring that the balance is

absolutely right. In questions

about the effect of the new

workplace legislation that the

government wants to have pass

the Senate, the minister concerned, Julia Gillard, is

not able to give a guarantee

that it won't result in any

jobs lost. Do you think she

should be able to give that

guarantee? Does that matter?

Look, I think the dilemma for

any government minister to make

a guarantee such as that, there

are so many factors involved. I can understand why she wouldn't

give that guarantee. I think

the jab of the snot is to scrut

lies the legislation, to look

for unintended consequences, to

see whether there are ways that

it can be improved and for

instance one of the moves the

government made yesterday was

for the better-off overall

tests. Previously if workers in

a workplace wanted to enter

into an agreement with their

employer, there were quite

high, I think unrealistic

thresholds for that to happen.

That's been modified so there

is a greater degree of

flexibility in individual

workplaces. I think that's a

good thing. Just finally on

another subject but another

important parallel one - the introduction of legislation

today or at least our first

look at the emissions trading

scheme from the government.

What do you need to be told,

what do you need to be

reassured over, if you're to

get on board with that bit of

two significant problems with legislation? Look, I've got

the legislation. The firstcy

don't believe the targets are

deep enough in terms of cutting

emissions. If you accept the

science of the IPCC, the international panel on climate

change, we need to be much more

ambitious in terms of targets so we can stabilise greenhouse

gas emissions, so we can manage the significant risk posed by

climate change. The second

thing is that I think the

current scheme is overly

cumbersome and bureaucratic and

won't do what it's meant to do without causing enormous damage

to the economy. We can have a

smarter scheme, a scheme that

is much better designed, without having the same impact

on the economy. You think you

can design that? It's not a

question of me designing it.

It's a question of this Senate

inquiry which I strongly

support kicking off and looking

at this and when I went to the

US and Canada in January,

there's a big debate there as

to the best sort of design for

a scheme. We need to be smart

about this so we can achieve

the cuts we need to without

having a deep and negative