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Monday, 13 October 2008
Page: 5844

Senator LUDWIG (Minister for Human Services) (9:42 PM) —These are the last substantive amendments that we will ask the chamber to divide on. To get to the germane point, the intergovernmental agreement provides for the ministerial council to agree to the model OH&S legislation proposed by SWA by consensus. Unless at least a majority of jurisdictional representatives on Safe Work Australia support the proposed model OH&S legislation, it is unlikely that the ministerial council would reach agreement by consensus. We can put the numbers down the way you have let them fall. We are not going to cavil as to the way the opposition has put them.

Can we bear in mind, though, that the voting rules are intended to avoid unnecessary delays that would result from SWA recommending to the ministerial council model legislation that has no chance of gaining agreement. It is about ensuring that you have them all on board so you can move forward. This is a simple way of ensuring that you have them on board before you move out of the station. It also underpins the point that we are trying to make in all of this, which is that it is about getting to model OH&S laws through a consensus. Where we find that we cannot get the majority of states on board, given that we have to ask them to amend their legislation, this recognises the reality that you are not going to get model OH&S laws without consensus. We want to be able to get consensus and move forward to get good OH&S model laws in place and codes of practice to provide for the outcomes we have mentioned.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Crossin)—The question is that opposition amendments (7) and (8) on sheet 5611 be agreed to. Therefore the question is that clause 38(2) and clause 42(2) stand as printed.

Senator LUDWIG —Just so we can be clear, what we are trying to do, Chair, is avoid having two divisions. We wanted to divide on amendments (7), (8), (9) and (10) as a job lot, which means we might have to put them slightly differently than the way you are expressing them. The point is to prevent bringing people back to the chamber again. We recognise the numbers in the place, but we do want to at least test it.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —I hear what you are saying, Minister, but in fact you cannot do that because we are asking two different questions. We cannot combine the two questions; we have to put amendments (7) and (8) before amendments (9) and (10). Therefore the question is that clause 38(2) and clause 42(2) stand as printed.

Question put.