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Wednesday, 25 September 2002
Page: 4829

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (12:23 PM) —The ALP opposes item 2, which would insert a new section to empower the commission to prevent the initiation of a bargaining period or order the conditions attached to the initiation of a bargaining period after a party who initiated a bargaining period withdraws from bargaining. This power enhances the commission's role in effectively handling industrial action that does not meet the statutory intent and objects of the act. The proposed provision would close a loophole that allows the pre-emptive withdrawal of a bargaining period to avoid the intervention of the commission. This provision mirrors powers already available to the commission when it terminates a bargaining period. The commission retains discretion in relation to these new powers.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Lightfoot)—Item 2 of schedule 1 has previously been amended by the Australian Democrats amendment (5). The question now is that item 2, as amended, stand as printed.

Question agreed to.