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Thursday, 14 May 2020
Page: 2448

Senator FARRELL (South Australia) (12:52): I seek leave to make a short—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Fawcett ): The minister has formally closed, but I'm conscious that the order this bill was brought on is not in accordance with the order that was listed. Are you seeking leave to make the contribution you would have otherwise made?

Senator FARRELL: Yes, I am.

Leave granted.

Senator FARRELL: Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. I thank the government for allowing me to make a contribution. Labor will support this bill in the Senate. It provides the ability for employers and licensing bodies to verify applicants' qualifications and deters people from fraudulently altering their VET transcripts. But making it easier for employers to check people's qualifications doesn't fix the fact that this government has presided over the failure of the vocational education and training sector and a national skills crisis that is making it harder for employers to fill job vacancies while at the same time the country is in an underemployment crisis.

Labor referred this bill to inquiry by the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee to make sure that there were no unintended consequences that make it harder for workers to make a fresh start. It's important not to strip away people's ability to make a fresh start in life. Labor wanted to make sure that students aren't placed at an unreasonable disadvantage when they're applying for jobs, that their privacy is protected and that they can properly control the data they share with potential employers. We are satisfied that if someone flunked out of a training course when they were young because they were caring for a family member or dealing with mental health issues, and they've successfully gone back and completed a diploma some years later, they will be able to control how much of their VET transcript they share with prospective employers, being only the qualifications that are relevant to the job.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.