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Wednesday, 16 October 2002
Page: 5335

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (6:34 PM) —Proposed section 20(1B), under `Criteria for registration of enterprise associations', says:

... if an employer meets or will meet costs and expenses of the association, or provides or will provide services to the association, this assistance must be taken into account when considering whether the association is free from control by, or improper influence from the employer.

I do not know that you can microdefine the myriad circumstances that might arise that would require the application of that proposed section but, clearly, it is not beyond the wit of the commission to do that in such a way as to further the objects of the act.

The clause was inserted at the instigation of the opposition. It is designed to ensure that the commission must consider whether the provision of funding or assistance by the employer to an enterprise association means that the employer has the capacity to control or improperly influence an association. So it is designed to prevent registration of an enterprise association that is merely the puppet of the employer. You cannot identify all possible permutations and combinations that might contravene that provision. You have to make a general judgment based on the facts and circumstances. I think its insertion in the bill is simply designed to ensure that the commission specifically takes those factors into account in deciding whether it is a genuine organisation.