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Only delay in junior wages bill is Democrat confusion.

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Senator Jacinta Collins

Labor spokesperson on Industrial Relations and Employment, Training and Population in the Senate


1 September 1999

Ref: 3/99




Contrary to Minister Reith’s clai m earlier today that Labor is responsible for a delay in dealing with the youth wages bill in the Senate, Labor is ready to proceed with this debate.


“True to form Minister Reith is deliberately misleading the public in an attempt to make cheap, gratuitous attacks on the Labor Party.


“The only delay on this matter is Bob Brown on the Regional Forests Agreement Bill 1998 and Democrat confusion. Labor has agreed to sit as long as possible this week to ensure passage of the RFA bill through the Senate this week. Then we can proceed with the junior wages bill,” Senator Collins said.


Aside from the RFA issue, it was only on Tuesday when the Democrats confirmed that they were prepared to proceed with the junior wages bill without reference to a parliamentary committee.


Previously the Democrats had indicated an intention to delay the bill further by referring it to a Senate inquiry. This is no longer the case, but the Democrats still appear confused on their strategy with respect to junior wages.


In a question to Senator Alston in the Senate last week, Senator Stott-Despoja demonstrated her ignorance of both the bill and the AIRC report. This week Senator Stott-Despoja attempted an urgency resolution on junior wages, which was later withdrawn by the Democrats.


“Contrary to Senator Murray’s suggestions today, there has been no Labor back flip on this issue. We have consistently agreed with the Democrats original position of supporting the ARIC decision. That is, to review the merits of junior wages on a case-by-case basis to eliminate age discrimination. Thanks to Labor, the government’s amendments now establish the framework for the Commission to do this.


“We’re ready, we just wish the Democrats would make up their minds on their strategy,” Senator Collins concluded.


Contact: Jacinta Collins (02) 6277 5880, 0418 991 757


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