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Thursday, 7 May 1987
Page: 2871

Mr KERIN (Minister for Primary Industry)(10.11) —The Government rejects the amendment moved by the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt). I do not know what he means when he talks about a substantial cost burden. No additional people will need to be employed. I suppose that there will be some additional paperwork and a few additional paragraphs in the annual report. This is not a window dressing matter and part of the honourable member's problem in moving his amendment was that his arguments became circular very quickly. He said that there was no need for the inclusion of a definition of `equal opportunity program' and that clause 43 mentions `merit'. We do not really know whether there has been discrimination in the Wool Corporation or any of these other companies or statutory marketing authorities. We have no way of knowing. The clause is an affirmation that this organisation will in future--

Mr McGauran —Nonsense!

The CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member for Gippsland will cease interjecting.

Mr McGauran —You ignore those opposite, do you?

The CHAIRMAN —I warn the honourable member for Gippsland.

Mr KERIN —This organisation will in future take equal employment opportunities into account. Honourable members opposite say that there has been no discrimination. Even in Canberra, which is pretty advanced on these sorts of issues compared with other areas--

Mr Conquest —Oh come on!

Mr KERIN —I could give the honourable member book, chapter and verse three occasions on which my wife has been discriminated against. I will not go into those personal matters, but honourable members opposite should not give us any nonsense about there being no discrimination against people because of sex, colour or their disabilities. If honourable members believe that discrimination does not take place and that all employers are enlightened people who judge everyone on merit they are having themselves on.

I make it very clear that in addition to the key elements in the Bill which will enhance the commercial operation of the Corporation, the legislation also has transitional provisions to continue the essential administrative arrangements for the Corporation. This particularly applies to its workers. Appointments to the Corporation and its research council will continue under the appeal and transitional provisions in the Bill, as will the committees of the Corporation and membership of those committees. More importantly, employment of staff of the Corporation and the terms and conditions of those staff members will continue under section 8 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, which relates to the effect of the repeal of Acts which cover such arrangements. The Government rejects the amendment by the honourable member for Gwydir.