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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5427


Senator PANIZZA (9.32 p.m.) —The coalition believed in the first place that its amendment, which was agreed to by the Democrats, covered the situation. I believe that this new amendment, the amendment to our amendment, has made it rather unnecessarily complicated. We believe that the Minister has a regulatory function, that the employers have a commercial responsibility to have the money there in the event that certain things happen and that the employees are the beneficiaries. In fact, Martin Byrne at the hearing the other night of the Standing Committee on Transport, Communications and Infrastructure on the Bill did not seem to place much importance on or did not say much about our amendment. So I presume that he accepted, as long as the money was there, that everything was okay.

  I believe what we are talking about is simply a matter of mechanics. It seems to have been well established in all the discussions that the money will be there. We are taking out that $1m and replacing it with `the prescribed amount'. Whether employees are included or whether the employer organisations are included, the Minister can consult with who he likes. I am sure that he consults with his Department and with those who he thinks necessary outside of the Department—and I believe he could have consulted with anyone, employees especially, without amending my amendment.

  However, as we have come to an agreement in a round table discussion before coming back into this chamber—and, of course, within the spirit of Christmas—on behalf of the coalition, I accept the Minister's amendment. This old Act has been in existence for 81 years, since 1911, so it is time it was brought up to scratch. The coalition will accept the Minister's amendments.