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Thursday, 31 October 1996
Page: 4927

Senator O'BRIEN(4.54 p.m.) —I just wanted to return to the point I was making before Senator Campbell pointed to our amendments as being identical in terms of the words I referred to when I was asking the question about international competitiveness through higher productivity. I think the senator should have regard also to point (b) in our amendment, which does not appear concurrent with the passage in the bill.

Obviously, I was asking about the effect the government sees with the bill as it is expected to be amended in terms of wage levels. In the absence of guaranteeing in the objects that no employee will be worse off, is it the intent of the government that that should be read as having regard to the wage costs overseas as an important object in setting salaries? I think that is a critical matter in relation to the operation of this bill because the objects clause will no doubt be the subject of debate before the Industrial Relations Commission and elsewhere. That is the question I am asking. I make that differentiation, hoping that I will get an answer.