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Thursday, 9 December 1993
Page: 4327


Senator PARER (9.17 p.m.) —The opposition will not support this amendment. Again, it raises the question of sexual preference, which was debated at great length and which I will not go into in detail right now. We have here a provision which prevents discrimination in respect of race, colour, sex, age, physical or mental disabilities—which again was debated previously, as were problems associated with that in certain circumstances—marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction and social origin. Apart from the fact that the sexual preference side is bizarre, how will the government determine it? Will it ask everyone what his or her sexual preference is? Will people tell the government?

  The amendment also talks about political opinion, but it does not provide for discrimination in respect of a person who may not be a union member. If the government is to be genuine about this matter, people must have the freedom to decide whether they will be a member of a union or not. For those reasons, which are multitudinous—and as the other items were debated at great length earlier in this committee stage of the bill—I will not go through the list again. This is the sort of nonsensical stuff that this country is plagued with. It is probably a major reason why we have some of the problems we have in Australia today and why we have disincentives for people to employ workers on a full-time basis. I think it is reflected in the work force. It is reflected in the fact that a lot more employers are employing people on a casual basis. It is because of these implications, restrictions and difficulties that occur and the regulations that apply when someone is employed on a full-time basis. It is a very sad reflection on where we are going.