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Monday, 13 December 1993
Page: 4436

Senator CRANE (8.13 p.m.) —I certainly do not want to prolong this matter but it seems absolutely extraordinary to me, if the minister's explanation is correct—and I am not disputing that it is correct—that we have a situation where a right is given but, in effect, that right does not mean anything.

Senator Chapman —They can reject the agreement.

Senator CRANE —The commission can reject the agreement. But the question that I am trying to draw out—and it is not a matter of dispute between us; it is a question that has been put to me by a number of employers and employees who would be interested in this aspect of it—is just how it would work and how they would go about the processes. So it is not a philosophical argument about whether this should or should not be in there, because it is well known that we are going to be voting against the clause; it is a logistical matter in terms of establishing how a particular process in the bill would work.

  It seems to me, from the answers that have been given to me, if they are correct—and as I have said, I am not disputing the correctness of the answers—that this particular clause does not really mean anything, that there is either a huge gap or hole in the bill, or that we are not being given an answer to what is a legitimate question which has been raised with me by a number of employers and employees who, as I have said, want to understand the mechanics of how they would go about this.

  I do not know whether we need to bring back Senator McMullan or Senator Sherry, who know a little bit more about this. I am not saying that Senator Faulkner should; I am not having a personal jibe at him. But some people have some expertise in these matters. I would have thought that somebody, one of the advisers at the table, would have been able to answer that very simple, logistical question.

  Question put:

  That the amendment (Senator Crane's) be agreed to.