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Tuesday, 14 December 1993
Page: 4570

Senator CRANE (10.26 p.m.) —I would suggest that if Senator Murphy wishes to speak to this clause he can do so in a proper manner, not try to deliver some backhand lecture across the table.

Senator Burns —You were caught out.

Senator CRANE —I was absolutely and totally not caught out. Senator McMullan gave a very weak, unnecessary answer. The fact is that even if an employer does resign from his organisation, that does not stop his obligations under an award, under the law of the land. Senator Burns and Senator Murphy know that. If one employs somebody, it does not matter whether one is a member of an organisation or not. One cannot pay people less than the equivalent to that which they would get under the award, nor can one not give them what is put down in law. Senator Murphy stated that himself in the committee hearings.

Senator Murphy —What about state laws?

Senator CRANE —The states have their laws and their way of dealing with it. Senator Murphy should not try to mix up the state situation and the federal situation. In Western Australia this matter is covered by law. Senator Murphy should know that because he claims to be an expert. This measure is simply a breach of privilege. It is not necessary and it should be rejected out of hand. I appeal to Senator Bell at this late stage to join us, to reconsider his position and to get this nonsense out of this legislation.

  Clause agreed to.

  Clause 79 agreed to.

  Clause 80 agreed to.

  Clauses 81 to 88—by leave—taken together.

Senator CRANE (10.29 p.m.) —We are voting against Part 9 of the bill. We do not believe that the government has made the correct decision. It has been made for the wrong reasons. It has been made to punish the ACCI because it supported the opposition at the last election.

  The thuggery arises when people stand up and say that they prefer a particular position. Any reputable government, having survived an election, should govern for the whole of Australia. If the government thinks it is beneficial to change the National Labor Consultative Council, it should do it through a proper structure of negotiation with the parties. Other parties might well be interested or have expertise, knowledge or a contribution to make. It should be done through a proper process.

  Consideration interrupted.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! It being 10.30 p.m., under sessional order I put the question:

  That the Chairman do now leave the chair and report to the Senate.

  Question resolved in the negative.

Senator CRANE (10.31 p.m.) —It should be done through the proper processes of consultation. It is interesting to note that this amendment is adjusting in a mandatory fashion the membership of the employer side of the equation. It is not addressing the trade union movement side of the equation. As such, we reject it. The government should think this one through again. If it believes that it is in the interests of industrial relations in this country it should do it through a proper process, not by just decreeing that this shall happen.