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Tuesday, 28 June 1994
Page: 2144

Senator CHAPMAN (9.22 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

1.Clause 6, page 2, heading to proposed section 170CD, line 35, omit "not employed under award conditions".

2.Clause 6, page 2, proposed subsection 170CD(1), line 38, omit "who is not employed under award conditions".

3.Clause 6, page 3, proposed subsection 170CD(3), lines 15 to 18, omit the subsection.

4.Clause 6, page 3, proposed subsection 170CD(4), definition of "relevant award", line 23, omit the definition.

These amendments relate to clause 6 of the bill. As we heard in the debate on the second reading, this bill will restrict access to the Industrial Relations Court for unfair dismissal. To be covered by the unfair dismissal provisions, employees must have no adequate alternative remedy, be working under either federal or state awards, or be earning up to $60,000 a year. The clause discriminates between award and non-award employees and demonstrates yet again that the Labor government's industrial relations policy is designed for the fat cats in the trade union movement. It is certainly not meant for the ordinary working men and women of this country.

  The four amendments that I have moved seek to remove the discrimination that exists under the government's proposed legislation between award and non-award employees with regard to access to unfair termination provisions. The provisions allow award employees unlimited access to unfair dismissal provisions but discriminate against non-award employees by restricting access to those earning less than $60,000 a year. As I said, it exempts the union fat cats from the income cap.

  Under this legislation, introduced by Mr Brereton in the other place, the government deliberately discriminates against non-award employees. That becomes clear when we look at their access to unfair dismissal compensation and to the court to take action against unfair dismissal. In this legislation there is unlimited access to those unfair dismissal provisions, irrespective of income, provided the employees concerned are under an award. Yet non-award employees in similar situations have access to unfair dismissal provisions only if they are earning less than $60,000 per year. We believe that is grossly unfair and an example of gross discrimination. That is why I have moved these amendments. I feel they warrant the support of the committee and I urge the committee to do so.