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Hello, and welcome to Parliament

House in Canberra. Tonight's

Question Time recording comes from the House of Representatives.

Questions, are there any questions?

The Honourable the Leader of the

Opposition. My question is to the

Prime Minister. Is the Prime

Minister aware that of the 20 MPIs

and censures on the subject of

industrial relations moved since

October 2005 in this House he has

participated in none of them? Is

Prime Minister also aware of the participated in none of them? Is the

following exchange - Order! The

Leader of the Opposition has the

call. The Prime Minister also aware

of the following exchange of the

Catholic archbishop of Sydney

yesterday. Journt, "So would you

encourage Mr Beazley's debate on

this to tapes?" Cardinal Pell

"Debate is always useful. " Given

the Prime Minister hasn't had the

courage to debate me on industrial

relations one-on-one in this House,

will the Prime Minister now agree

have an industrial relations debate will the Prime Minister now agree to

with me in the carpark at the Coffs

Harbour Spotlight? Order! I thank

the Leader of the Opposition for

question and I think the most the Leader of the Opposition for his

appropriate way to reply to him is

to say in the last 30 years on both

sides, no Prime Minister has

attended more Question Times for

longer periods of time and answered

more questions than I have. My

question is addressed to the Prime

Minister. Is the Prime Minister

aware of misleading claims being

made about the operation of the new

workplace relations system? If so,

what is the extent of these claims?

Mr Speaker, I thank the member for

Braddon for his question. The

answer is yes and the latest

example, and I seek the permission

of the House to take the House

through some of the detail of this,

appears to have been made by the

member for Perth in relation to a

company called Asalte. Last

Thursday, the member for Perth

brandishing what purted to be an

asked the following question. brandishing what purted to be an AWA

"Isn't it the case that this AWA

leaves a full-time employee of

Asalte working a Saturday shift $65

a week or $10,140 over three years,

worse off?" That was the claim.

Speaker, in fact according to a worse off?" That was the claim. Mr

statement from the company released

today, the facts are different to

those suggested by the member for

Perth. Amongst other things, this

is what the company has had to say.

The management of Asalte

that the $65 pay cut allegation was The management of Asalte understands

raised in connection with Saturday

work. Asalte does not regularly

work any of his employees on a

Saturday. It goes onto say,

has never engaged a person to work Saturday. It goes onto say, "Asalte

their regular hours on a Saturday.

So that particular claim is false. their regular hours on a Saturday. "

Further, Asalte has said, "At

certain tiements times of the year

due to increases in in warehouse

volumes, the existing warehouse

staff are asked to work Saturdays

staff are asked to work Saturdays on an as-required basis. This

an as-required basis. This Saturday work is voluntary and has always

been in addition to the employee's

week hours and is worked at

week hours and is worked at overtime rates of pay. " Mr Speaker, the

rates of pay. " Mr Speaker, the AWA that was offered to Asalte's staff

increased the minimum hourly rate

increased the minimum hourly rate to $18.39 an hour compared to the

collective agreement of $17.13 an

hour, which also compared to the

relevant award which had a rate of

$13.78 an hour. On this basis a

calculation along the lines of that

made by the member for Perth with

made by the member for Perth with an Cle working 38 ordinary hours and

three hours overtime, they would

actually be $27 a week better off,

not $65 a week worse off and $4,000

better off over the 3-year period.

I understand that the agreed

I understand that the agreed offered included increases in wages,

increases in some allowances and an

increase in sick leave provisions,

Mr Speaker. On Saturday, one of

Australia's most respected union

figures, Mr Joe De Bruyn had

something to say about people

something to say about people taking liberties the with the truth in the

industrial relations debate. That

was referring to Spotlight. It may

also have referred to Asalte.

Order! Order! Members on my right.

The member for O 'Connor is warned.

The Honourable Member for Perth.

My question is also to the Prime

Minister, and I refer to his

previous answer and I also refer

previous answer and I also refer him to a letter to the editor of the

'Australian' newspaper by Mr De

Bruyn and I quote, "I'm writing to

express my deep concern at the