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Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Page: 1131

Senator SIEWERT (4:30 PM) —Under the process in the Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Bill 2008, it is highly likely that some employees will in fact be on unfair ITEAs and unfair individual agreements. We do not believe that that is appropriate.

The government came into office saying that it would bring in a new, fairer system and there are certainly elements of that here. The way to make this system even fairer is to accept this amendment and see that all agreements operate from approval. We do appreciate that there are some time lags and significant backlogs with the existing process. I found it ironic that the opposition questioned the government earlier about that, when it was the very system that they had set up. A number of us had said all along that the system was doomed to failure and it would end exactly the way that it has ended—although I should use the word ‘result’ because it has not ended yet. We believe that it is much fairer to employees if agreements operate from approval. We also believe that having two different systems, lodgement and approval, makes the system even more complicated.

Question negatived.