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Thursday, 24 November 2011
Page: 9562

Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (16:51): It might come as a surprise to the parliamentary secretary—it does not worry me who I might be disagreeing with or not—but sometimes panels come up with bad laws and bad considerations. There is still no overwhelming rationale as to why 40 years of jurisprudence, accepted internationally, accepted by the International Labor Organisation, should be set on its head by this bill. For the review panel to somehow think that they have got it better than the international experience and the ILO is interesting. I might remind the parliamentary secretary that on matters of climate change and a few other things we are very able now to just reject the view of international bodies when they make certain determinations—but we will not go there for the purposes of this debate.

A concurrent responsibility clearly indicates that two or more people might have a responsibility in a particular circumstance. So there is duplication, and one imagines there could potentially be triplication or quadruplication of these responsibilities in circumstances, which happen from time to time, where you have, say, a project manager who then subcontracts certain work out and then that subcontractor subcontracts out to a number of other subcontractors, and you can go right down the chain. This happens on major building sites on a very regular basis. So you could have three or four different people or organisations concurrently responsible for the control of a situation. To suggest that that will not lead to uncertainty is to fly in the face, I would suggest, of common sense and personal experience that I think we must all acknowledge will be a problem for the future of this law.

Question put:

That the amendments (Senator Abetz's) be agreed to.

The committee divided. [16:59]

(The Chairman—Senator Parry)

Question negatived.