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WORKPLACE RELATIONS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (MORE JOBS, BETTER PAY) BILL 1999

The order of the day having been read for the resumption of the debate on the question—That the Bill be now read a second time—And on the amendment moved thereto by Mr Bevis, viz.—That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"(1) the House condemns the Government for introducing a bill which:

 (a) further entrenches unfairness and bias in the existing industrial relations system;

(b) ensures that the role of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission is further restricted and the independence of the Commission is compromised;

(c) reduces the minimum conditions available to all Australian workers by further undermining the award system as the dynamic framework for the protection and advancement of wages and conditions, through further award stripping;

(d) denies Australia[quot ]s lowest paid workers any further wage increase unless their award is stripped of basic entitlements such as long service leave, superannuation and paid jury service leave;

(e) further removes workplace and enterprise bargaining from the protection of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, placing it solely in the hands of the Office of the Employment Advocate, which is run by one of the Minister[quot ]s former senior personal political staffers;

(f) further weakens opportunities for employees to organise and bargain collectively;

(g) aggravates problems of inequality for women and the most vulnerable in the labour market;

(h) further restricts workers who are denied proper industrial protection in their state from accessing federal protection;

(i) prevents the Australian Industrial Relations Commission from conducting much of its traditional conciliation role;

(j) further dismantles the framework for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes;

(k) amends the termination of employment provisions to limit an employee[quot ]s right to pursue an application and extends the cost provisions;

(l) emphasises the punishment and prevention of industrial action rather than its resolution;


(m) unduly hinders the entry and inspection of premises by relevant organisations;

(n) demonstrates a lack of balance in freedom of association provisions;

(o) fails to ensure that Australia[quot ]s labour standards meet our international obligations;

(p) continues to breach international standards as identified by the ILO panel of experts[quot ] findings concerning the right to strike and to bargain collectively;

(q) has a short title which is deliberately misleading and fails to represent the actual intention and impact of the bill; and

(r) exposes workers to loss of award or agreement entitlements when ownership of a business is transferred;

(2) the House also condemns the Government for its eagerness in tabling a bill that will specifically strip workers of their basic rights while failing to protect workers[quot ] legally accrued entitlements in cases of corporate insolvency; and

(3) recommends that a new bill be introduced which:

 (a) delivers fair and equitable outcomes for Australian workers;

(b) preserves basic conditions for all Australian workers;

(c) provides for an independent commission with the appropriate power to conciliate fairly and settle disputes; and

(d) provides jobs and income security"—

Debate resumed.

It being 2 p.m., the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 101A, and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour this day.