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Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Page: 7415


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (13:09): Minister, I do not know why you will not go to the point and answer the question. It is okay to give us all the rhetorical flourishes that you have in your speaking notes, but the reality is that I am asking a simple question, and that is: what is the incentive for the employer to reach agreement with the union within the six-month period, when clearly, on what you outlined early in your answer, it is probably a better incentive for them, if it is all about cost pressures, to resist any improvements to pay and conditions. Thanks very much for advising me that there is a difference between an award and prevailing pay and conditions. I think most people do understand that, but that does not go to the question—what is the incentive for the employer to reach agreement with the union within the six-month period? Doesn't it mean that, if the determination is made on prevailing pay and conditions, then the unions cannot negotiate improvements in pay and conditions in the areas that are under disagreement for prospective employees—so prevailing pay and conditions become a cap?