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Monday, 13 December 1993
Page: 4470


Senator PARER (11.36 p.m.) —I have the same problems as expressed by Senator Crane on this late amendment, the insertion of which has made it difficult to keep up with these amendments. There is a clause that refers to no automatic flow-on of certain awards and agreements. Award flow-ons have been a major problem for a long time in this country because they have not recognised the capacity of certain industries to pay. Looking back over the past 10 or 15 years, a lot of industries have been arguably destroyed by award flow-ons. The current Prime Minister (Mr Keating) may well have used that argument to describe the activities of a union leader in the metal trades industry back in 1982-83.

  I should like the minister to explain how that clause will operate in practice. Where unions are involved in negotiating enterprise agreements, it is inevitable that each agreement will become a mirror image of the other, which makes a joke of the so-called enterprise agreements that are supposed to be based on a particular enterprise and not on an industry or craft.