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Monday, 2 December 1985
Page: 2640

Senator PARER —Is the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce aware that the Business Council of Australia is seeking an urgent meeting with the Government to discuss the implications for company superannuation schemes of last week's deal in the paint industry? Is he further aware that a major concern of the Business Council is that employers should be allowed to choose whether they pay into a union-controlled scheme or into their existing schemes, a matter raised with the Minister by Senator Chaney last week and in respect of which the Minister promised a definite answer? Will the Government agree to meet with the Business Council? If so, will the Government be represented by only Mr Willis or will the Minister himself attend, given his responsibilities for the future of industry and commerce?

Senator BUTTON —I would counsel Senator Parer and others not to get too excited about this issue. We met with the Business Council of Australia a month ago. This issue was raised. I was there, amongst other Ministers, and we gave an undertaking that we would discuss superannuation guidelines with the Council. That will be done. There is no need for it to request a meeting as it has done. An agreed meeting is to take place. The honourable senator asked about an alleged deal with the paint industry in the settlement of the industrial dispute involving that industry. The Confederation of Australian Industry was represented in those negotiations. There have been some very misreported or misunderstood views about what took place. The answer to the question asked by Senator Chaney about whether employers will be forced to make double contributions in respect of the same employee is, no. Senator Chaney also asked me whether employees will be required to contribute. The answer is that the Government will fully support the idea of employee contributions and will do everything it can to encourage them. Those issues will be discussed in the context of any discussion with business organisations about superannuation guidelines and other matters associated with superannuation. If the honourable senator asks a question in February next year when Parliament comes back for the autumn sittings I am sure that we will satisfy him about the results of those negotiations.

Senator PARER —I ask a supplementary question. Senator Button said that a meeting had been agreed upon with the Business Council of Australia. When will the meeting take place?

Senator BUTTON —I am not quite sure. I think it is this week some time or early next week.