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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1632

Mr WILLIS (Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations)(6.25) —The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member for Menzies (Mr N.A. Brown), referred to perfunctory comments from me. We have just had some very perfunctory comments from him as to why he is proposing this amendment. The fact is that if this legislation were seeking to impose some requirement on independent contractors in respect of their own employees, one might say there was something in this amendment. But that is not the situation. All the legislation is saying is that an employee means a natural person appointed or engaged either under a contract of service or under a contract for services. If that person is a person with employees of his or her own, then those employees are not in any way being taken into account by this legislation; it applies only to the natural person who is working for a statutory authority under a contract of services.

There is nothing wrong with taking those people into account in determining the process of discrimination and ensuring that we do not have discrimination taken against persons in this position; if those persons are female, Aboriginal, disabled, or are migrants from non-English speaking countries we should not discriminate against them. This legislation seeks to ensure that we do not discriminate against those people in a way which would affect their possibility of getting employment on merit by way of a contract of service with a statutory authority. There is every reason to maintain the definition which is in the Bill. The concern which was expressed by some honourable members in the debate about this issue does not exist. I believe that there is absolutely no reason for us to accept this amendment.