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Tuesday, 7 December 2004
Page: 54

Senator MURRAY (Western Australia) (3.39 p.m.)—I move:

(1) That the matter of unfair dismissal be referred to the Employment, Workplace Relations and Education References Committee for inquiry and report by 14 June 2005, with the following terms of reference:

(a) to examine:

(i) the international experience concerning:

(a) unfair dismissal laws, and

(b) the relationship between unfair dismissal laws and employment growth in the small business sector,

(ii) the provisions of federal and state unfair dismissal laws and the extent to which they adversely impact on small businesses, including:

(a) the number of applications against small businesses in each year since 1 July 1995 under federal and state unfair dismissal laws, and

(b) the total number of businesses, small businesses and employees that are subject to federal and state unfair dismissal laws,

(iii) evidence cited by the Government that exempting small business from federal unfair dismissal laws will create 77 000 jobs in Australia (or any other figure previously cited),

(iv) the relationship, if any, between previous changes to Australian unfair dismissal laws and employment growth in Australia,

(v) the extent to which previously reported small business concerns with unfair dismissal laws related to survey questions which were misleading, incomplete or inaccurate,

(vi) the extent to which small businesses rate concerns with unfair dismissal laws against concerns on other matters that impact negatively on successfully managing a small business, and

(vii) the extent to which small businesses are provided with current, reliable and easily accessible information and advice on federal and state unfair dismissal laws; and

(b) to recommend policies, procedures and mechanisms that could be established to reduce the perceived negative impacts that unfair dismissal laws may have on employers, without adversely affecting the rights of employees.

(2) That the committee be authorised, with the approval of the President, to commission independent research, as desirable or necessary, to investigate each of these terms of reference.

Question agreed to.