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Wednesday, 16 February 2000
Page: 11823

Senator BOLKUS (10:14 AM) —by leave—I now move amendments Nos 4 and 5 together:

(4) Schedule 1, item 46, page 27 (after line 21), at the end of section 40H, add:

(4) An award, a certified agreement or an Australian workplace agreement prevails over a determination under subsection (2) or (3) to the extent of any inconsistency.

(5) In subsection (4), award has the meaninggiven by the Workplace Relations Act 1996.

(5) Schedule 1, item 85, page 42 (line 21), omit “The Workplace Relations Act 1996”, substitute “Except where the contrary intention appears, the Workplace Relations Act 1996”.

In moving these amendments, the opposition has not opposed the prescribed delineation of the commissioner's command and employment powers by the bill. However, we believe that, due to the special nature of the AFP, the delineation is not always clear-cut in all instances. For instance, during the Senate inquiry into this bill, the AFP Association raised concerns about the possibility of a blurring between command and employment powers, particularly with respect to the proposed section 40H, which deals with deployment in terms of conditions for overseas and special operational needs.

As proposed section 40H is not subject to the Workplace Relations Act 1996, we believe there is always a possibility that the command power given by this section could be used in such a way as to circumvent the unfair dismissal provisions of the Workplace Relations Act. So the amendment we move now will make determinations made pursuant to section 40H(2) and (3) subject to the Workplace Relations Act, therefore removing any possibility that this command power could be misused as an employment power.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Hogg)—The question is that amendments Nos 4 and 5 moved by Senator Bolkus be agreed to.