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Thursday, 31 October 1996
Page: 4928

Senator SHERRY (Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate)(4.58 p.m.) —Despite the non-answers Senator Campbell has given us on most occasions during this debate, the opposition believes it has made the appropriate points that need to be made on a schedule such as this, the schedule that is to outline the objects of this particular act.

The CHAIRMAN —The question before the chair is that the government-Democrat amendments 1 to 7 be agreed to.

Amendments agreed to.

The CHAIRMAN —Senator Sherry, do you now wish to move your amendment, which on the running sheet is opposition amendment No. 1?

Senator Sherry —Yes.

The CHAIRMAN —But that is different from the one that has just been circulated.

Senator Sherry —That's right. We wish the amendment to schedule 1, item 1, page 4 to be moved separately. That is the amendment I referred to as the `Murray amendment'.

The CHAIRMAN —Senator Sherry, perhaps you could formally move your opposition amendment No. 1.

Amendment (by Senator Sherry) proposed:

(1)   Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (line 5) to page 4 (line 21), omit the item, substitute:

1 Section 3

Repeal the section, substitute:

3 Principal object of this Act

The principal object of this Act is to provide a framework for cooperative industrial relations which promotes the economic prosperity and welfare of the people of Australia by:

   (a)   encouraging the pursuit of high employment, improved living standards, better pay, low inflation and international competitiveness through higher productivity and a flexible and fair labour market; and

   (b)   guaranteeing that no employee will be worse off as a result of the implementation of this Act, and in particular, that no trainee or apprentice will receive less take home pay than the relevant entitlement under the applicable award; and

   (c)   within the framework provided by this Act and with the protections provided by the Commission, ensuring that the pri mary responsibility for determining matters affecting the relationship between employers and employees rests with the employer and employees at the workplace or enterprise level; and

   (d)   enabling employers and employees to choose the most appropriate form of agreement for their particular circumstances; and

   (e)   providing the means:

      (i)   for wages and conditions of employment to be determined as far as possible by the agreement of employers and employees at the workplace or enterprise level, upon a foundation of minimum standards; and

      (ii)   to ensure that there is an effective award system providing secure, relevant, and consistent wages and conditions of employment; and

   (f)   providing a framework of rights and responsibilities for employers and employees, and their organisations, which supports fair and effective bargaining and ensures that they abide by awards and agreements applying to them; and

   (g)   ensuring freedom of association, including the rights of employers and employees to join an organisation or association of their choice, or not to join an organisation or association, while maintaining the rights of employers and employees to organise and bargain collectively; and

   (h)   encouraging and facilitating the development and registration of organisations of employers and employees, and ensuring these organisations are representative of and accountable to their members; and

   (i)   enabling the Commission to prevent and settle industrial disputes

      (i)   so far as possible, by conciliation; and

      (ii)   where necessary, by arbitration; and

   (j)   assisting employees to balance their work and family responsibilities effectively through the development of mutually beneficial work practices with employers; and

   (k)   respecting and valuing the diversity of the work force by helping to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin; and

   (l)   ensuring that labour standards meet Australia's international obligations.