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Thursday, 9 December 1993
Page: 4333

Senator CRANE (9.55 p.m.) —As I said before, it was not my intention to speak to each clause and amendment—

Senator Kernot —We have had this debate.

Senator CRANE —Just wait a little while. As we have had a substantial reaffirmation of what Senator Spindler said before in this chamber, I thought I should clear up a point that I made earlier which I believe was deliberately misunderstood by a number of people, including one or two journalists. I said that the opposition's position was that there was already a provision in the other acts.

  We had not had sufficient time to consider these amendments because we received them yesterday at 11 o'clock. It is quite nonsensical for Senator Bell to say, as he did a few moments ago, that we have had plenty of time to consider all the ramifications of the amendments to this particular legislation. We have not had time to deal with them on this side of the chamber. This issue is causing a number of people a lot of heartache. Had we been given the time to consider these amendments properly we could have worked through the concerns that a number of people have expressed to us.

  Quotes have been taken out selectively from some letters. I have received some 550 letters now and I could pick out points from those letters and emphasise them. But the one overriding message that comes through those letters, whether they be from employees or from employers—I think the tally is now running at 20 percent from employees and 80 percent from employers—is that there is a massive concern about the impact of this legislation in the workplace; particularly its impact on the small business sector where the vast majority of the letters come from. The Senate is in a position to give proper and adequate consideration to the legitimate concerns that have been raised with me and other senators. I want to make that point absolutely clear.