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Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Page: 1126

Senator WONG (Minister for Climate Change and Water) (4:13 PM) —I am not sure if the opposition is speaking on this but I would like to indicate that the government is not supporting this amendment. I just want to be clear with Senator Siewert what the effect of the government’s bill is. An ITEA must not leave an employee worse off over all when compared with the underlying instrument in the workplace—and this may be, for example, a collective agreement or an award. I am advised that the fair pay and conditions standard applies by force of law where the standard provides a more favourable outcome than that provided in their workplace agreement. So an agreement cannot purport to exclude the standard. In our view this amendment is unnecessary. We already have a situation where the standard applies by force of law and where ITEAs must be compared against the underlying instruments for the purposes of considering whether or not an employee is worse off. For those reasons the government is not supporting this amendment.

Question negatived.