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Monday, 13 December 1993
Page: 4446

Senator SHERRY (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy) (9.17 p.m.) —If we approached it from Senator Chapman's logic, I could see why he would put forward business. It would open the floodgates to almost anything. If employers argued that they were conducting their business along particular religious faiths or creeds literally hundreds of thousands of employees could be covered by this section. That would clearly subvert the intentions of the Industrial Relations Act.

Senator Chapman —Only if they could prove it.

Senator SHERRY —I think the balance the opposition is trying to strike is unreasonable. The amendment the government has moved duplicates—

Senator Chapman —You're being inconsistent.

Senator SHERRY —I accept that the opposition is being consistent but I do not accept the logic of its position. We are being consistent with the terms and conditions laid down by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act. The exceptions that are embodied in the amendment that we are moving strike the appropriate balance between those religious sensitivities of employers and the rights of employees. We do not propose to shift that balance any further than is contained in this amendment.