Page 4120 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005

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into effect in March 2006. I know that Mr Mulcahy and those opposite can hardly contain their joy at the prospect of these laws coming in. We expect that they will come in in 2006.

There do not seem to be any arguments advanced by the federal government as to why this legislation needs to be passed so quickly, why stakeholders—and every single Australian has a stake in this—have been given such a short time to consider the detail of the legislation. Some of the detail of the legislation is still not clear. For example, under “prohibited content” in workplace agreements, there is a $33,000 fine—

Mr Gentleman: Training and trade work.

MS GALLAGHER: That is so for a number of areas, and trade union training leave is one of them, as dreadful and evil as a notion like workplace training might be! We had better get rid of that. That is frightening. I wonder what they teach at those training courses? It is almost as frightening as the training course offered by the hotels association, I would imagine.

There is a $33,000 fine for anything that the government feels like prohibiting. It is to be done by regulation. They do not say what they are going to fine you for. If you put it in your agreement and it becomes prohibited content, you will be fined $33,000. For restricting contractors or use of labour hire, there is a $33,000 fine. For asking that your agreement be collective, there is a $33,000 fine. For saying you do not want to offer AWAs, there is a $33,000 fine. For asking for a clause in your agreement allowing a union to be involved in dispute resolution, there is a $33,000 fine. In the fine print, there is a fine for anything else the government feels like introducing.

This is the detail in the legislation that nobody has had the time to work through. We were in the ridiculous situation yesterday where representatives of the department of workplace relations appeared before a committee to give details of what the state and territory governments are saying. It could all have been avoided if there had been discussion on the legislation prior to its introduction.

We find ourselves in the ridiculous situation where the Senate has five days to consider a piece of legislation of this magnitude before it is passed and imposed on 100 per cent of workplaces in the ACT come March next year. It is an atrocious situation. The federal government is treating the people of the ACT with such contempt that they do not even give us the opportunity to talk about this legislation and genuinely listen to our concerns and amend the legislation accordingly.


MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Minister, during a meeting at Ginninderra district high school on 16 September, when asked by a member of the audience what was wrong with the school building, you made the comment that you had been on a tour of the school and you felt that it was “sort of run down”. Minister, how many major policy decisions have you made based on feminine intuition?

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