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Monday, 13 December 1993
Page: 4461


Senator CRANE (10.47 p.m.) —I would like to comment on the parliamentary secretary's response and his statement that the purpose of this amendment is to address the concerns of employers. In the previous bill which we dealt with before the Senate standing committee, the matter relating to the first part of this amendment was well and truly there in black and white; it was without the 72-hour notification period. Every employer organisation which came before us at that time rejected the proposition that was before us.

  This is not a second-best choice of the employers. It is the last-best choice; one can call it the millionth or the two millionth. The government has not really taken the employers' views into consideration. I repeat what I said previously: it is a tragedy that more consideration was not given to the impact of this measure.

  The United States does have a very different industrial relations system. For example, it does not have an arbitration process; that is very different from Australia. We can argue until we are blue in the face about whether the American system is better or worse than the Australian system. But the fact is that we are not dealing with the United States system. We are dealing with what occurs in Australia. We are dealing in particular with what we have before us now. I re-emphasise that not one employer organisation—I do not think there were any individual employers—has supported whatsoever the thought in the context of this legislation.

  The message that I have been given is that this legislation will increase industrial disputation; worse than that, it will legitimise industrial disputation. If it is the intention of the government to increase and legitimise industrial disputation, it is succeeding with the clauses in this bill. However, it will be at a loss to employees, employers, the economy and our ability to compete internationally. As such, it should be rejected out of hand.

  Amendment agreed to.