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WORKPLACE RELATIONS AMENDMENT (FAIR DISMISSAL) BILL 2002

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—

Debate resumed by Mr McClelland who moved, as an amendment—That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading, the House:

(1) confirms that the protection from being unfairly dismissed is a fundamental safety net issue for Australian workers and their families irrespective of the size of the business in which they are employed;

(2) notes that the Australian Labor Party, in Opposition and as a future Government, is committed to working with small business, employees and peak bodies to make unfair dismissal laws more effective by addressing procedural complexities and costs; and

(3) condemns the Government for:

 (a) promoting socially divisive policies for its political purposes;

(b) using the issue of unfair dismissal to deflect criticism of the fact that its taxation policies have tied up small business in an unprecedented level of complexity and red tape;

(c) proposing legislation that would actually expose small business to other areas of more complex and costly litigation;

(d) undermining the security that unfair dismissal laws have given Australian workers and their families;

(e) failing to assist small business to develop effective human resource strategies in terms of the selection, ongoing training, supervision and management of employees; and

(f) failing to heed calls from the small business community for a more constructive approach to the issue of unfair dismissal that is likely to result in uniform national standards underpinned by the concept of a `fair go all round' ".

Debate continued.

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.