Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 2997

Senator ARCHER(11.50) —Clause 9 is another of these areas that require a certain amount of exposure. I would like the Minister and the Australian Democrats to give the matter a little thought. Why are we attacking the private sector? Why are we attacking the business generation sector? Why are we attacking the sector of the community that at least is generating jobs? I thought that Senator Vigor-I give him credit for it-showed that very clearly. I hope he will be able to convince his colleagues what a good understanding he has of the subject, how much experience he has had and what a feeling he has for it. I have noticed that those who spoke most vehemently on this matter are, in the main, people who have had either no or very little experience in the areas where business needs to be done at all hours of the working day, and substantially that includes meal hours.

I think all Government members would agree that not enough of them have occupied positions in management, sales, promotion, public relations and other areas where the use of every minute of the day is absolutely essential. As I identify it, there are 10 things that will arise from this piece of legislation: One, it will produce a push by the unions to get meals in their awards; two, it will require eating facilities in factories and offices Australia-wide--

Senator Robert Ray —I take a point of order. Madam Temporary Chairman, I think you are sitting in the wrong spot. The honourable senator is making a second reading speech.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Haines) —Senator Archer, I ask you to confine your remarks to the clause at hand.

Senator ARCHER —I am speaking to clause 9, Madam Temporary Chairman. Everybody but Senator Ray would understand that. Third, it will replace restaurant meals with office meals; four, it will transfer work from restaurant staff to office staff; five, it will reduce the viability and hence the availability of facilities to tourist and non-business customers; six, it will eliminate the opportunities for considerable part-time and full-time work; seven, it will create a farce in turning meal-times into seminar times; eight, it will merely change one method of claiming meal costs for another; nine, it will still rely on the Australian Taxation Office acting and using its powers provided by the legislation; and 10, the cost of administration, if ever it were dealt with, would be enormous.

If we are to endeavour to do something that is reasonably fair and reasonably decent it has to be even-handed. We also ought to look at what will flow on from this legislation. If the Minister believes that there are sufficient areas of abuse that warrant this sort of attention, he will find that people who wear gum boots or wet weather gear or uniforms or protective clothing at work may also abuse the privilege and wear those things at home to do their gardening or to go fishing and so on. Does the Minister intend to eliminate those sorts of things also? It is absolute nonsense to implement provisions such as this. If the provisions of the existing Act were enforced by the slovenly people in the Taxation Office who are supposed to administer them, we would not need this type of legislation now. The rules have been adequately clear. The fact that the Taxation Office has seen fit not to use them is on its head, not on ours.