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Monday, 4 November 1996
Page: 5023


Senator CAMPBELL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Sport, Territories and Local Government)(5.47 p.m.) —There will be litigation when you introduce new provisions. There was litigation when this act came into force under Mr Brereton. We do not dispute there will be litigation.


Senator Jacinta Collins —Incomparable.


Senator CAMPBELL —By interjection Senator Jacinta Collins and others say, `There'll be masses of litigation.' We hope that is not the case. This law is designed to assist working people of Australia, across Australia, through a simplified award system.


Senator Sherry —It doesn't simplify it. It makes it more complicated. It's longer to start with.


Senator CAMPBELL —I guess so were the amendments to the tax act, the amendments to the Corporations Law and the amendments to the native title act as well—


Senator Sherry —You keep reminding us and we are reminding you.


Senator CAMPBELL —I am quite happy to be reminded of those things, because we reminded you. We are seeking to do those things. We are not seeking to increase the living standards of lawyers in the industrial field; we are actually seeking to improve the living standards of average Australians. It is not that I have anything against industrial lawyers. I hope genuinely that this bill, if it ever does get through the Senate and comes into law—we have had about 27 hours to date in this debate; we are heading for a record; and on current progress we will take about 150 to 160 hours—will make it better for average working Australians.

We hope your predictions that there will be masses of litigation are not correct and that the industrial lawyers will not be the net beneficiaries of introducing new provisions. But there was litigation in relation to the new provisions. Unfortunately, Senator Cooney, parliamentary secretaries will not be able to lodge a log of claims on the commission because of section 44 of the constitution.