Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Industrial Relations Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1994. Supplementary Bills Digest: Termination of Employment.



Download PDFDownload PDF

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Industrial Relations

Commencement: On Royal Assent.

Purpose

The Bill as first presented on 11 May 1994 amends the Industrial Relations Act 1988 (the Act) to postpone the operation of provisions preventing age discrimination in awards and agreements. These provisions are dealt with in Bills Digest No. 89 of 1994.

In response to pressure from employer interests, the Government announced on 30 May 1994, that it would further amend the Act to "clarify" the operation of the termination of employment provisions enacted in the Industrial Relations Reform Act 1993 (the Reform Act).

Changes to the termination provisions were introduced as amendments to the Industrial Relations Amendment Bill (No.2) 1994 (the Bill), informally circulated on 8 June 1994 and agreed to in the House of Representatives on the following day.

This Digest outlines the purpose of the amendments, their background and provides some comment.

The amendments principally concern the termination of employment provisions of the Act and provide:

. for the exclusion by regulation of a broader range of employees from the protection of the termination provisions;

. that employees who are not employed under award conditions and who earn more than $60,000 are excluded from the termination provisions;

. a "clarification" of the onus of proof in proceedings about an alleged contravention of the termination of employment provisions; and,

. a limit on the amount of compensation which is payable to an employee of 6 months remuneration for award employees, or $30,000 for non award employees.

Provision is made for the regulations to prescribe a formula for indexing the $60,000 and $30,000 monetary limits.

As discussed below, however, the Commonwealth has not taken the opportunity to address concerns raised by the apparent failure of the Reform Act to extend protection from age discrimination to officers of the Australian Public Service (APS). It would appear that this issue and a number of others are not to be addressed until a further review of the legislation scheduled for later this year.

Background

(a) Commonwealth Jurisdiction

Unlike their State counterparts, workers covered by federal awards have until recently had relatively limited remedies available to them for unfair or wrongful dismissal. As employees covered by federal awards do not have access to State industrial tribunals, it was not possible for aggrieved workers to take advantage of remedies commonly available to the 50 percent of workers covered by the various State systems. Accordingly, until the passage of the (as yet) untested 1993 Reform Act, approximately half the Australian workforce enjoyed a lesser standard of job security.

Until the early 1980s, the growth of a Commonwealth jurisdiction to deal with unfair dismissals, reinstatement and termination of employment was inhibited by accepted constitutional limitations on the conciliation and arbitration power [section 51(xxxv) of the Australian Constitution]. This power limited the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (the Commission) and its predecessors to resolve inter-state industrial disputes and was thought not to allow the granting of individual remedies by the Commission as this would involve the use of judicial power which can only be exercised by a Court.

To overcome these jurisdictional problems, and thereby gain access to the more expeditious and less costly forum provided by the Commission, federal unions sought to develop general award provisions providing individual rights to dismissed employees.

This approach, which gained considerable impetus after the Commission's decision in the landmark Termination, Change and Redundancy Test Case (1984), complimented the Commission's long-standing practice of exercising what is commonly called its "defacto" jurisdiction in cases of alleged unfair dismissal. This "de facto" jurisdiction operates where the parties to a dispute agree, prior to hearing, to accept the Commission's recommendations even though it is recognised that the Commission does not have power to enforce its decision. In cases where either party will not accept "jurisdiction", the Commission declines to use its "good offices" to settle the matter.

Partly prompted by the unsatisfactory nature of these arrangements and a more expansive approach taken to Commonwealth powers by the High Court, the last decade has seen a constant testing of the limits of federal power over termination of employment. By mid 1993 a lengthening line of High Court decisions 1 had not resolved all relevant constitutional issues in favour of broader reading of Commonwealth power. Limitations on jurisdiction remained and the capacity of unions to establish a "standing" jurisdiction within the Commission by way of general logs of claim still appeared partially constrained. 2 Legislative action soon followed.

(b) The 1993 Reform Act

The termination of employment provisions of the Industrial Relations Act 1988 (the Act) are contained in Division 3 of Part VIA - Minimum Entitlements of Employees. The provisions were introduced by the Reform Act and came into effect on 30 March 1994.

The Reform Act represented a radical departure from earlier Commonwealth industrial law because it extended certain 'minimum entitlements' to all workers, not just federal award employees. In legislating for this extension the Government is relying on the external affairs power in the Constitution, rather than the conciliation and arbitration power which has been the basis of federal industrial law since 1904.

The main Constitutional basis for the termination provisions is International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No 158, the Convention Concerning Termination of Employment at the Initiative of the Employer (the Termination Convention) 3 . The Termination Convention was ratified by Australia in February 1993, and came into effect for Australia in February 1994.

The reliance on ILO Conventions as the basis for the federal law has brought criticism from employer groups, the Federal Opposition and some State Governments. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has stated:

The additional prescription of minimum standards through the use of the external affairs power to override the State jurisdictions where serious reform has been attempted is an unwarranted intrusion into areas of State Authority. 4

(c) State-based remedies

While the provisions in relation to termination of employment are innovative for the Commonwealth, remedies in relation to termination of employment, and particularly unfair dismissals, have been available to many Australian employees from other sources.

The avenues which existed for employees outside the federal system pursuing claims of unfair or wrongful dismissal before the commencement of the Reform Act provisions on 30 March 1994 included:

. common law rights;

. anti-discrimination legislation; and

. the reinstatement and compensation jurisdictions of State industrial tribunals and courts.

From the mid 1970s, most State systems developed relatively quick and inexpensive remedies in instances of wrongful and unfair dismissal. These forms of action extend beyond basic contractual remedies and include the provision of relief where a dismissal does not breach the terms of the employment contract but was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. (Award based forms of relief may also be found in the State as well as the federal systems.)

Many of the amendments which have been proposed to the termination provisions can be traced to limitations on the reinstatement and compensation jurisdictions as they exist in the States.

Access to relief from unfair dismissals in State jurisdictions is frequently limited. In New South Wales access is confined to employees who work under awards or agreements. 5 In Victoria access is restricted to employees who are engaged in a classification of work that was covered by an award on 1 March 1993, have been employed continuously for six months and do not have other rights of appeal or review. 6 In South Australia, applications cannot be made if the dismissal is subject to review or appeal under another Act. In addition non award employees earning more than $67,000 are excluded from being granted compensation payments. 7

Many States impose limits on the level of compensation which is payable to employees who are found to have been unfairly dismissed. In New South Wales and Western Australia compensation is limited to a maximum of six months salary (if reinstatement is seen as inappropriate). 8 In Western Australia this compensation is only available for award employees after an order for reinstatement has been made and not complied with in a reasonable time. For employees covered by workplace agreements compensation may be awarded where reinstatement is impracticable, putting these employees in a more favourable position than their award counterparts. The Victorian regime prohibits compensation unless reinstatement is ordered. Where reinstatement occurs compensation is limited to lost wages. 9 In South Australia, there is no monetary limit on compensation but the compensation jurisdiction does not apply to those particular workers who earn above $67,000 and are not employed under awards or agreements. 10

The present amendments generally restrict access to the termination provisions, and set upper limits on the level of compensation that can be awarded. Restrictions of this nature have been sought principally by employers who were concerned at potential cost of compensation which might be have to be paid under the Commonwealth legislation. There have been reports that over 620 unfair dismissal claims have been lodged with the Industrial Relations Court of Australia, with one applicant claiming $1.9 million in compensation. 11

The use of the external affairs power [section 51(xxix) of the Constitution] to support the provisions has excited considerable controversy and the validity of the provisions is to be challenged by a number of States in the High Court. In the context of the proposed challenge, doubts exist as to whether the legislation, in particular the proposed amendments to the coverage of the termination provisions, are consistent with the Termination Convention which the Government has used as the basis for the original provisions. This and other related issues are examined in the comments section of this Digest.

Main Provisions

Clause 4A amends section 170CC of the Industrial Relations Act 1988 (the Act) to make it easier for the Government to exclude by regulation classes of employee from the minimum protections afforded by the Act.

Clause 4B inserts a new section 170DC which excludes higher paid non award employees from the provisions of the Act dealing with termination of employment.

Those excluded are employees not covered by a federal or State award (including enterprise agreements) whose base wage exceeds a determined amount (initially at a rate exceeding $60,000 per annum).

The provision will not take away the "vested" rights of a worker who is given notice of termination before this new proposed limitation comes into effect. For example, an award-free worker on $65,000 per annum who was given 5 days notice on 20 May 1994 but has not completed an action in the Australian Industrial Relations Court (the Court) by the time that this Bill receives the Royal Assent will not be adversely affected by the amendments excluding higher paid workers. Judgments handed down by the Court prior to the date of commencement of these amendments are also unaffected.

Clause 4C will insert a new section 170EDA into the Act altering existing provisions in relation to the onus of proof in unfair dismissal cases.

New subsection 170ED(1) will place the initial onus on the employer to establish that a dismissal was made for valid reasons connected with the employee's capacity or conduct or based on the operational requirements of the undertaking. However, the amendments make it clear that the onus is shifted to the employee to establish that, for whatever reason, a dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable.

New subsection 170ED(2) applies in cases where an applicant alleges that a dismissal was made for a specific reason. Where the applicant identifies that reason, the onus shifts to the employer who carries the burden of showing that the dismissal was not for that specified reason.

Clause 4D replaces existing section 170EE to expressly limit the amount of monetary compensation that the Court may award in relation to a particular matter.

The provision allows the Court to order reinstatement and make orders necessary to maintain continuity of employment.

If, and only if, the Court makes an order for reinstatement it may also award monetary compensation subject to legislative guidelines imposed by proposed paragraph 170EE(3). Any such award of monetary compensation is, however, capped to the amount of remuneration that the applicant would have received in the six months immediately following the date that the dismissal took effect.

For non award employees, compensation may not exceed the amount applicable on the day on which the termination took effect. The applicable amount is either six months salary or $30,000, whichever is lower. (The distinction between award and non award employees arises because variations in award entitlements may occur during the six month period following dismissal. It is assumed that non award employees will not have their entitlements adjusted by such means.)

Clause 4E inserts a new section 170EI which provides for the indexation of the ceilings imposed in relation to the exclusion of employees from coverage and the maximum amounts of "compensation" payable.

Clause 4F extends rights of representation before the Court and the Commission to employer associations which are not registered under federal industrial laws. This extension applies only to the representation of employer interests in proceedings concerning the termination of employment.

Comments

(a) Constitutional concerns

A significant question mark remains over the constitutionality of the termination provisions inserted into by the Reform Act. A somewhat larger question mark may be placed next to some of the present amendments.

To repeat the advice contained in the Bills Digest prepared for the Industrial Relations Reform Bill 1993:

"The measures outlined in the Bill to be enacted are advanced in reliance on the external affairs power of the Commonwealth. The proposed use of this head of power in the industrial arena is both controversial and unprecedented although such a course has been averted to in the past. Indeed, in R v Burgess; Ex parte Henry (1936) 55 CLR 608 at p 687 two High Court judges (Evatt and McTiernan JJ) were of the view that:

it is not to be assumed that the legislative power over "external affairs" is to be limited to the execution of treaties or conventions; and . . . the Parliament may well be deemed competent to legislate for the carrying out of "recommendations" as well as the "draft international conventions" resolved upon by the International Labour Organisation or of other international recommendations or requests upon other subject matters of concern to Australia as a member of the family of nations.

The scope of the "external affairs" power has been subject to considerable attention and has formed the central issue in a number of High Court cases over the past decade. [Refer Koowarta v Bjelke-Petersen (1982) 153 CLR 168; Commonwealth v Tasmania (1983) 158 CLR 1 (The Tasmanian Dam Case); Richardson v Forestry Commission (1988) 164 CLR 261 (the Lemonthyme Forests Case); and Polyukhovich v The Commonwealth (1991) 65 ALJR 521.]

The upshot of these cases is that the law as presently declared by the High Court allows the Commonwealth considerable scope for enacting domestic legislation on topics of international concern.

Whilst the issue is not entirely free from doubt, it appears that the existence of a genuine treaty giving rise to an obligation will automatically amount to a matter of "international concern" on which the Commonwealth may legislate. The validity of domestic legislation may, however, be called in question where the law does not conform with the terms of the relevant treaty or where the law relies on non obligatory terms in an international instrument (ie some ILO "Recommendations"). It must be said, however, that the 'favoured' test for determining whether a law comes within the ambit of a particular treaty is a liberal one. That test seems now to accord with the judgment of Deane J in the Tasmanian Dam Case where His Honour observed:

[t]he law must be capable of being reasonably considered to be appropriate and adapted to achieving what is said to impress it with the character of a law with respect to external affairs . . . Implicit in the requirement . . . is a need for there to be as reasonable proportionality between the designated purpose or object and the means which the law embodies for achieving or procuring it'(Commonwealth v Tasmania (1983) 158 CLR 1 at 260)."(emphasis added) 12

(b) The amendments

In announcing the Government's intention to amend the termination of employment provisions of the Act on 30 May 1994, Minister Brereton, quoting comments by Professor Breen Creighton, 13 claimed that:

. . . the unfair dismissal provisions of the new act have been the subject of a great deal of exaggeration, misrepresentation and scaremongering . . . 14

In concluding his remarks, he added:

We will also be modifying the onus of proof in unfair dismissal cases to ensure that it is shared between employers and the dismissed employees. These amendments are aimed squarely at giving employers the confidence to take on new employees as the recovery gains momentum. 15

Given the familiarity of many large employers and employer associations with remedies for unfair and wrongful dismissal available under most State industrial relations systems for the past two decades, the vociferous and arguably belated employer response to the Reform Act was somewhat incongruous.

In certain respects, however, the amendments to the Reform Act tabled on 9 June 1994 are themselves equally puzzling. The amendments appear to introduce elements into the package which are not supported by the relevant ILO Convention (the cap on compensation and the exclusion of non award based employees earning more than $ 60,000 from the protections offered by the Act). Moreover, the amendments do not appear to address technical concerns raised about the workability of the new termination regime.

In his recent article in the Journal of Industrial Relations, Sydney Barrister, Robert Reitano, listed the following as matters which need to be resolved:

. whether the provisions are constitutional;

. whether the provisions are intended to operate as a complete code for unfair dismissal at the federal level;

. what legislation in the area of unfair dismissal falls within the terms of "existing machinery that satisfies the requirements of the Termination of Employment Convention", which gives rise to the circumstances in which the Court must decline to exercise its jurisdiction under section 170EB; and

. whether the Reform Act is to take over the newly found jurisdiction of the Industrial Relations Commission or to supplement that jurisdiction. 16

The issue of constitutional validity can only resolved by the High Court and is in any event to be the subject of a challenge to be launched by all State Governments. The other issues identified by Reitano could, however, be addressed by legislative amendments. In failing to do so the Government may have left the way open for a veritable lawyers picnic as the courts struggle to define the scope and meaning of the termination provisions. In particular, the task of determining what legislation falls within the terms of "existing machinery that satisfies the requirements of the Termination of Employment Convention" is likely to produce considerable litigation.

(c) Exclusions

(i) Extension of categories of employee who may be excluded by regulation

Clause 4B allows for the exclusion of a broader range of categories of employee from the termination provisions by making reference to two additional paragraphs of Article 2 of the Termination Convention.

Paragraph 4 of Article 2 allows for the exclusion of categories of employees who are governed by

special arrangements which as a whole provide protection that is at least equivalent to the protection afforded under the Convention.

This paragraph could form the basis for excluding public sector employees who are generally covered by particular legislation concerning termination and discipline.

Paragraph 5 of Article 2 of the Termination Convention provides for the exclusion of:

other limited categories of employed persons in respect of which special problems of a substantial nature arise in light of the particular conditions of employment of the workers concerned or the size or nature of the undertaking that employs them.

This paragraph could be used to exclude workers from particular industries, such as the building and construction industry, where special problems with the termination provisions are said to arise. The special problems which exist in building and construction are due to industry award conditions which are said to compensate workers for a lack of secure tenure. The argument is that access to the termination provisions of the Act amounts to double dipping for building industry employees.

If the Government recognises that special circumstances in the building and construction industry justify an exemption it opens itself to representations from other industry groups that they should be excluded from the legislation. 17

Given that paragraph 5 of Article 2 also refers to the size of an undertaking as being a potential source of special problems it can be expected that small business advocates will argue that an exclusion for small business is necessary. While any such exclusions would have to be consistent with the Termination Convention, if a wide range of exclusions is allowed the Government's ability to claim that the legislation is protecting universal and fundamental employee rights may be compromised.

An additional issue is whether it is appropriate for the exclusion of a potentially wide range of employees to be dealt with by regulations, rather the legislation. Legislation is generally subject to more thorough public and Parliamentary scrutiny than regulations, and so might be considered more appropriate where existing rights to contest a termination may be removed.

(ii) The exclusion of certain non award employees form access to the termination provisions

In speaking to the amendments on 9 June 1994 the Assistant Minister of Industrial Relations, Mr Johns, stated that:

Hereinafter, from the date of assent, non-award workers with wages of more than $60,000 will not get access to our system at all. Our system was always meant to be for those who had no other remedy, those who were at the lower end, those who were in the greatest danger of being subject to unfair dismissal. 18

Article 2 of the Termination Convention provides that the Convention applies to:

all branches of economic activity and to all employed persons.

The initial assumption is that all employed people should be covered. The Article then goes on to give some specific instances where categories of employees may be excluded, including paragraphs 4 and 5 which are quoted above.

There is no clear basis in the Convention for excluding employees on the basis of an arbitrarily set salary cut-off and their non award status. Such employees are not necessarily covered by "special arrangements" that ensure, for example, that they are given valid reasons for their dismissal. Indeed, the fact that a number of applications have been made to the Court from higher income earners may suggest that these employees do not currently enjoy the protection from unjustified termination offered by the Convention.

There has been no explanation of what "special problems of a substantial nature" arise in covering these employees. While the exclusion does relate to the employees conditions of employment (ie their salary level and non award status) it is not clear how these conditions create special problems in relation to coverage.

(iii) Remedies should include access to adequate compensation

Article 10 of the Termination Convention refers to the remedies that should be available to courts or tribunals if a termination is found not to be justified. The Article states that if a body is not empowered, or does not find it practical to declare a termination invalid or order reinstatement, they shall be empowered to order payment of adequate compensation or such other relief as may be deemed appropriate.

The limits of up to $30 000 compensation, or up to six months wages, do appear to be generally consistent with national practice in Australia. This may help in establishing that the provision for compensation is adequate, although there is no strict basis in the Convention for imposing monetary limitations.

(d) Age Discrimination - Australian Public Service

When the Industrial Relations Reform Bill 1993 was before the Senate, Senator Spindler moved that "age" be made a prohibited ground for termination.

The Government agreed to the amendment to paragraph 170DF(1)(f). 19 Accordingly, the Act presently provides that an employer must not terminate an employee's employment on account of the worker's:

race, colour, sex, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin.

The provision was seen as ending compulsory retirement at age 65 for workers covered by federal awards. Indeed there appears to be little dispute that the Democrat sponsored amendment on age discrimination had this effect at least in relation to private sector workers and public sector workers not covered by the Public Service Act 1922 (PS Act). 20

What is in doubt, however, is whether the age discrimination provisions of the Act can be relied on by Commonwealth public servants. 21

Contrary to the spirit of the amendment, it would appear that the Government has taken the view that Commonwealth public servants are still bound by section 76V of the PS Act which provides for a maximum retiring age of 65 except where the Secretary of a Department is of the opinion that it is in the interests of the Commonwealth that the relevant officer should continue in employment.

The technical argument advanced by the Government for this approach is that the age discrimination provision only applies to terminations effected by the actions of an employer. In the case of section 76V terminations, the separation arises out of a statutory obligation and is therefore not a termination at the initiative of the employer.

The contrary view is that the Reform Act anti-age discrimination provision applies to all employees. The Reform Act makes no exception for the APS, nor do the relevant parliamentary debates reveal any such intention on the part of the Parliament to discriminate against public servants in relation to compulsory age retirement. The usual tenets of statutory interpretation also hold that a later piece of legislation overrides an earlier Act to the extent of any inconsistency. Following this principal, the provisions of the Reform Act override section 76V of the PS Act.

In any event, the present Bill provides the Government with the opportunity to resolve any ambiguity by amending the PS Act to make it plain that the Government does not intend to discriminate against its own workers in relation to age retirement. Instead it would appear that the Commonwealth intends following "a do as I say, not a do as I do" policy on this issue.

The present approach, moreover, continues what could be unkindly described as masterful inactivity on the part on the Government and Public Service Commission on this issue.

Most State Governments have now enacted legislation outlawing discrimination based on age without dire results. 22 Given that the overwhelming majority of public servants retire before age 60, the effect on the Commonwealth is also likely to be pretty negligible. 23

In 1990, Senator Bourne was given an undertaking by the Minister for Social Security to remove age discrimination from all existing federal legislation. 24

The House of Representatives Standing Committee for Long Term Strategies Report, Expectations of Life:Increasing The Options For the 21st Century, presented in April 1992 recommended that:

. . . the Commonwealth Government abolish compulsory age-related retirement in the Australian Public Service and other employment areas. 25

In November 1992, the Government responded to the Report of the Long Term Strategies Committee and gave in principle support ending compulsory age-related retirement. 26

On 17 December 1992, Senator Patterson presented a private Senator's Bill, the Public Service (Abolition of Compulsory Retirement Age) Amendment Bill 1992 which would have abolished compulsory aged related retirement and provided for the recruitment by the Commonwealth of officers who had turned 65. The Bill was to commence on 1 July 1995 to "allow sufficient time to adjust personnel planning policies and for the relevant authorities to make any necessary adjustments". 27

On 19 October 1993, Senator Patterson asked on notice whether any decision had been taken to end age discrimination in the federal arena. On 7 December 1993, the Attorney-General, through Senator Bolkus, responded that no decision had been taken but:

. the Attorney-General's Department is working towards the development of a comprehensive Commonwealth age discrimination policy; and

. public consultations on the desirability or otherwise of measures to combat age discrimination in the federal arena have not yet been undertaken. The Attorney-General's Department proposes to release a discussion paper to facilitate community consultations on the issues involved early next year [1994]. Public consultations will occur following the release of the discussion paper. 28

As at 16 June 1994 the "discussion paper" promised for release in early 1994 (which has apparently been to Cabinet) had not seen the light of day.

Endnotes

1 Re Ranger Uranium Mines Pty Ltd; ex parte Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia (1987) 163 CLR 656; Re Federated Storemen and Packers Union of Australia; ex parte Wooldumpers (Victoria) Ltd (1989) 166 CLR 311; Re Boyne Smelters Ltd; ex parte Federation of Industrial Manufacturing and Engineering Employees of Australia [1993] 67 ALJR 449; and Re Printing and Kindred Industries Union; ex parte Vista Paper Products Pty Ltd [1993] ALJR 604.

2 For a more detailed account of recent developments leading to the 1993 Reform Act see Robert Reitano, "Legislative Change in 1993", Journal of Industrial Relations, March 1994, pp 57-73; and Phillipa Weeks, "Major Tribunal Decisions in 1993", Journal of Industrial Relations, March 1994, pp 74-98.

3 The Convention appears in Schedule 10 to the Industrial Relations Act 1988, as amended.

4 Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Media Release, 23 November 1993.

5 See section 245 of the Industrial Relations Act 1991 (NSW).

6 See section 39 of the Employee Relations Act 1992 (Victoria).

7 See subsection 31(4b) of the Industrial Relations Act 1972 (South Australia).

8 See section 250 of the Industrial Relations Act 1991 (New South Wales), section 23A of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (Western Australia) and sections 57 and 58 of the Workplace Agreements Act 1993 (Western Australia).

9 See section 42 of the Employee Relations Act 1992 (Victoria).

10 See endnote 5.

11 Arlene Cullen, "Victoria leads 'unfair dismissal' charge", The Age, 29 May 1994.

12 Department of Parliamentary Library, "Industrial Relations Reform Bill 1993", Bills Digest No.B 57, 12 November 1993.

13 Australian Financial Review, 30 May 1994.

14 House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), 30 May 1994, pp 932-933.

15 ibid

16 op cit, pp 63-66.

17 The 'special circumstances of daily hire workers in the building and construction industry' are mentioned in the Media Release of Hon Laurie Brereton MP, dated 30 May 1994 which announced the proposed changes to the termination provisions.

18 House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), 9 June 1994, p 1810.

19 Senate, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), 8 December 1993, pp 4200-4201.

20 Workforce, 18 February 1994.

21 A view first brought to public notice by comments made by Ms Helen McKenzie, a partner with the law firm, Blake Dawson Waldron. Canberra Times, 14 April 1994.

22 Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (QLD); Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA); Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA); Anti-Discrimination Act 1992 (NT); Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW); and Discrimination (Amendment) Act 1994 (ACT).

23 Only 1.7 percent of permanent Commonwealth public servants are aged 60 and over and only a further 2.4 percent are older than 56. Department of Finance, Australian Public Service Statistical Bulletin 1992-93, p 47.

24 Media Release, 13 September 1990.

25 Recommendation 3.

26 Australia, House of Representatives Standing Committee for Long Term Strategies Report, Expectations of Life:Increasing The Options For the 21st Century, Government Response,10 November 1992.

27 Senate, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), 17 December 1992, p 5325.

28 Senate, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), 7 December 1993, p 4091.

Bob Bennett (06) 277 2430 and

Margaret Cotton (06) 277 2439

Bills Digest Service 17 June 1994

Parliamentary Research Service

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

Commonwealth of Australia 1994

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1994.