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 5 WORKPLACE RELATIONS AMENDMENT (PROTECTING THE LOW PAID) BILL 2003

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: "the House declines to give the Bill a second reading and condemns the Government for:

(1) introducing legislation that impedes the ability of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to independently determine fair minimum wages for Australian workers and their families;

(2) attempting to limit wage increases for low paid workers in circumstances where it has placed increasing financial pressure on Australian families by:

 (a) being the highest taxing Government in Australia's history;

(b) failing to stem rising household debt that has now doubled under the Howard Government;

(c) failing to address record bank fees that have doubled since 1997;

(d) forcing thousands of Australian families to pay high medical bills as a result of a dramatic decline in bulk billing;

(e) forcing Australian families to pay an additional 30% for the cost of essential medicines;

(3) attempting to suppress the wages of working Australians in circumstances where it will not take action to limit extraordinary executive salaries and executive severance packages; and

(4) calls on the Government to abandon its policies that favour the big end of town and do something to ease the pressure on Australia's millions of working families".

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.