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Monday, 4 November 1996
Page: 5028

Senator SHERRY (Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate)(6.11 p.m.) —Before we proceed with the vote on this, I am glad for Senator Campbell's sake that there are not thousands listening to the broadcast—it is a non-broadcast day, unfortunately—given his explanation. Is that the best you can do, Senator Campbell? It does have its amusing side but the objects of the part is a very important part of the bill. If the best you can do in response to very serious and legitimate questions and concerns is quote back the bill, it is no wonder we are not getting very far and we have only spent 27 hours on the bill to date.

I take exception to your comment that we might be spending another 27 hours. I hope, for all our sakes, that we do not have to but, with the quality of the answers we are getting, I am not surprised at the time that it has been taking. Just before we proceed with the vote, I just wish to make one, last appeal to the Democrats and I would like Senator Murray to respond, please. It has been put very clearly on a number of occasions in the discussion on clause 88A and I would put—through you, Mr Chairman—two critical points to Senator Murray: why will the Democrats not require the commission to take into account the interests of employees? That is fundamental, Senator Murray. And why did your grubby deal not include that in the clause 88A objects? Here is your chance. Go on the record; tell us why you did not include that in this particular proposed section of the bill.   The other point—you talk about evolution, Senator Murray—is that there has always been in the act for 100 years an encouragement to prevent and settle industrial disputes. That is an issue that distinguishes Australian industrial relations from almost every other country in the world, to our credit. For the first time in 100 years, that very critical object will not be here.

Why, Senator Murray, did you fail in your negotiations to include that in this deal that you are supporting today? Those are two very critical and fundamental issues. We know why the government will not include it. What we are interested in knowing is why the Democrats have not delivered in this area.