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Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Page: 1137

Senator SIEWERT (4:57 PM) —I move Australian Green amendment (15) on sheet 5449:

(15)  Schedule 1, page 34 (after line 9), after item 7, insert:

7A  At the end of section 352


AWAs and ITEAs to expire on nominal expiry date

         (3)    Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, a pre-reform AWA, an AWA or an ITEA expires on its nominal expiry date and ceases to have effect on that date.

As we have already touched on in the chamber during an earlier debate, this bill does not end AWAs. It brings in ITEAs, but AWAs continue until their nominal expiry date and then they only terminate if one of the two parties gives the 90-day notice that they want the agreement to expire. We believe the more appropriate approach would be for the AWAs to expire on the nominal expiry date. There are two ways forward from there: either they can then go on to an ITEA or they can go on to any other subsequent collective agreement. We want to see an end to AWAs and ITEAs, and the amendment proposes that AWAs and ITEAs cease to operate on their nominal expiry dates. We believe that does genuinely get rid of AWAs and it would encourage employers and employees to reach new agreements before the end of the nominal expire dates. It is in that way that we can ensure that AWAs are finished and that gives extra encouragement to employers to reach agreements before the end of the expiry date. We believe this is very important. We believe this is a much better approach and sends a much stronger signal about the government’s intent to genuinely get rid of AWAs.