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Thursday, 9 December 1993
Page: 4359


Senator CHAPMAN (12.33 a.m.) —The letter to which my colleague Senator Parer just referred is similar to a letter that I have received dealing with the same issue. Apart from the points that Senator Parer has made in relation to this letter, what it really points out is the nonsense that we are going through as far as this government's administration of industrial relations is concerned. As I said a few moments ago, the government says that it is about achieving enterprise agreements and enterprise flexibility agreements. Surely the central requirement of an enterprise agreement is that it is an agreement entered into by the employer and the employees of a particular enterprise and, indeed, ought to be initiated by the employer or the employees of that enterprise—otherwise, it has no meaning as an enterprise agreement.

  Yet what do we find in this letter? It is a letter from the Queensland branch of the National Union of Workers demanding that this particular firm, Signet, respond to its claim for an enterprise agreement dated 5 November 1993 within seven days of the date of this letter. It states:

A refusal by your company to enter into meaningful negotiations within that period will not be viewed favourably by the Union and its members in your employ.

It is the union demanding the enterprise agreement, not the employees of that particular firm. As I say, that simply highlights the absolute nonsense of the government's notion of enterprise agreements.