Bills Digest 66 1996-97 Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1996


Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

WARNING:
This Digest is prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments.

This Digest was available from 11 December 1996.

CONTENTS

Passage History

Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1996

Date Introduced: 5 December 1996
House: The Senate
Portfolio: Industrial Relations
Commencement: Formal parts of the Bill commence on Royal Assent. Those parts of the Bill dealing with the referral of Victorian powers to the Commonwealth are to come into effect on a date(s) to be proclaimed.

Purpose

The Bill seeks to give effect to the 11 November 1996 announcement by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments of the partial referral of Victoria's industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth.

The Bill also provides for a number of minor amendments to the Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Act 1996. These principally relate to the conferral of powers by a State parliament on the Commonwealth tribunal and the Employee Advocate (Schedule 2) and to the timing for the commencement of new provisions implementing the 'No-disadvantage test' to be applied to Australian Workplace Agreements (Schedule 3).

Background

Main Features

  • The Bill extends federal jurisdiction over a range of industrial matters currently dealt with under Victorian law.
  • The referral will allow Commonwealth industrial laws to apply to persons and conduct which would otherwise be outside the scope of its constitutional powers, including the corporations power.
  • The constitutional basis for the referral of matters from a State (or States) to the Commonwealth is set out in section 51 (xxxvii) of the Australian Constitution.
  • The scope of the Bill is in large measure determined by the 'matters' formally conferred on the Commonwealth by the Victorian Parliament via the Commonwealth Powers (Industrial Relations) Bill 1996 (the Victorian Bill). The potential reach of Commonwealth law is further restricted by certain implied constitutional limitations on the capacity of the Commonwealth to pass laws which may affect functions of a State which are critical to its capacity to function as a government.
  • Whilst the Commonwealth has a wider capacity to legislate under other heads of Constitutional power with respect to some matters covered in this Bill and the Victorian Bill, the Victorian Government would be unlikely to proceed with the present referral of matters if the Commonwealth were to act outside the scope of the present understanding between the two Governments.
  • It seems to be generally agreed that the proposal does not disadvantage any employee in respect of their present safety-net entitlements.(1) There is also the potential for Victorian workers to gain access to improved safety-net provisions under the federal system.
  • The Commonwealth Bill was referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee on 5 December 1996. The Committee is due to report to the Senate on Wednesday 11 December 1996.
  • Five submissions were received by the Senate Economics Committee which conducted a Public Hearing on Monday 9 December 1996. At that the hearing, the Commonwealth indicated that the referral would be supported by a Commonwealth-Victorian agreement which has yet to be concluded.
  • At the time of writing, there has not in fact been a referral of power under section 51(xxxvii) of the Australian Constitution. This is because the Victorian Bill has not received the Royal Assent and those parts of the Bill which will come into force on proclamation have not yet been proclaimed (such action is, however, expected shortly).
  • The proposal also makes possible the recognition of Victorian unions under the Federal Act. The precise terms of this recognition of State industrial associations, which will allow unions to follow their members into the federal system, have been criticised by the ACTU and Victoria Trades Hall Council in their submission to the Senate Committee as potentially undermining the 'conveniently belong to rule' and having the potential to destabilise existing representational arrangements in the federal system. The scope and nature of any transitional or more permanent arrangements regulating representation rights is to be determined after further discussions with the parties. These matters are to be dealt with by regulation.
  • The Victorian Government retains the capacity to revoke the referral unilaterally by the making of an order by Victorian Governor in Council. The proposed agreement between the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments is, amongst other things, intended to established guidelines for terminating the referral if and when that eventuality arises.

History and Jurisdiction

The Commonwealth and each of the six States have shared the responsibility for employment relations.

At federation, the bald wording of the Australian Constitution gave the Commonwealth the prime role in respect of inter-state industrial disputes, industrial relations involving the Territories and employment relations in the Commonwealth public sector. The States retained power over disputes occurring exclusively within their own borders and in respect of State Government employees.

Arguably, the division of power between the respective units of Government has added to the cost and complexity of industrial relations and business regulation and unnecessarily hindered economic management. Attempts to address this perceived problem by way of constitutional change have nonetheless failed. This has in part been because of opposition from the States.

Commonwealth dominance over the conduct of industrial relations, however, had been achieved by the late 1980s. This pre-eminence is a product of a range of factors including:

  • an increasingly adventurous use by Commonwealth Governments of all political colours of a range of constitutional powers (principally the trade and commerce power, the corporations power and the external affairs power);
  • in recent years, a broad reading of the Commonwealth's powers by a majority the High Court; and
  • the profound changes to the nature of the Australian and international economies since federation.

Since the mid-1980s, greater stress has been placed on achieving closer comity between the federal and State industrial systems.(2) Significant progress was made under the previous government in the collocation and rationalisation of tribunals, the making of dual appointments to federal and State bodies, facilitating joint sittings of tribunals and in securing more co-ordinated approaches in key areas such as wage-fixation. This is not to say there is no room for further efficiency gains. Nor have working relations within the wider industrial community and between Governments become straight-forward or free from controversy or political gamesmanship. Indeed, even those who recognised the virtues of a single national set of industrial relations institutions, including former NSW Premier, Neville Wran, were not inclined to press the case for reform too far or too fast.(3)

The election of the Kennett Government in October 1992 had ramifications for industrial relations beyond Victoria and may (perhaps inadvertently) prove to be a defining moment in moving Australia to a single national system of industrial relations.

Within 2 months of coming to office, the Kennett government had passed the Employee Relations Act 1992 (subsequently amended in 1994) curtailing the operation of Victoria's system of conciliation and arbitration and replacing it with a 'deregulated' system centred on voluntary employment agreements. (Victoria was therefore the first State to establish a system of conciliation and arbitration and the first State to abolish it.)

The Victorian laws sharpened the focus on industrial relations issues for much of 1992 and 1993, principally on the relationship between State and Federal laws and institutions. Pressure from Victorian interests hostile to the new laws saw the Commonwealth 's Industrial Relations Act 1988 amended in late 1992 to facilitate the movement of workers out of the State system and into the federal arena.(4) The Industrial Relations Reform Act 1993 (Cwlth), relying on a 'cocktail' of Commonwealth constitutional powers, established national standards in relation to matters such as unfair dismissal, minimum pay, equal pay and discrimination in the workplace and freedom of association. This legislation was also (in part) a response to the Kennett Government's laws.

In turn, the Commonwealth's initiatives led to a series of challenges to the constitutionality of the federal laws. The net effect of the High Court's decisions on these challenges was to further entrench a wide reading of Commonwealth's powers and to highlight the Commonwealth's potential and actual dominance over the States in the industrial relations arena.(5)

Although precise figures are not available, the practical upshot of these events was the mass departure of large numbers of workers from the Victorian to the Commonwealth industrial relations system. Creighton and Stewart (writing in late 1994) quote figures which suggest that less than two years after the passage of the Employee Relations Act 1992 (Vic) the percentage of the Victorian workforce covered by federal awards had risen from 40% to 60% and that about 350,000 workers had left the State system.(6) More recent figures cited by the Australian Financial Review suggest that the Victorian system covers 400,000 to 500,000 workers or about 20% of the State's workforce, down from 40 % of the workforce in 1990.(7)

The High Court's decision of 4 September 1996 substantially upholding the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act 1988 (Cwlth), combined with the increasing likelihood of the Howard Government securing the passage of the majority of its proposed workplace changes suggest one possible rationale for the current initiative referring Victorian powers to the Commonwealth. Introducing the Commonwealth Powers (Industrial Relations) Bill 1996 (Vic),(8) Premier Kennett, however, advanced another set of reasons for taking the present course, claiming that:

The referral is clearly the most significant industrial relations reform in Victorian history.

It is also a significant achievement in reshaping federalism to meet the challenges facing Victoria in the 1990s. After decades of inefficiency Victoria will have :

Australia's first single industrial relations system;

easy access to federal agreements without constitutional technicalities; and

access to the new federal unfair dismissal provisions.

Victoria has taken the lead in this reform. A single national industrial relations system has been promoted for many years. More recently the Government's 1992 election policy identified Victoria's wish to refer its industrial powers.(9)

</ ul> Whilst supporting the referral of powers, the Victorian Opposition has been less charitable, arguing, amongst other things, that:

  • the referral is a convenient way for the Victorian Government to ditch an unpopular and unfair set of laws.(10)
  • claims that the Victorian Government has a long-standing commitment to a single national system of industrial relations cannot be substantiated and sit uneasily with the expenditure of over $10 million on legal challenges attempting to stop employees gaining access to federal awards.(11)
  • provision should have been made to extend automatically the wider range of minimum protections available under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cwlth) to the (estimated) 400,000 workers currently covered by Victorian employment agreements.(12)

That said, the media response to the proposed referral of powers has been favourable. For example, The Sydney Morning Herald of 14 November 1996 whilst observing that 'Victoria is giving up little by ceding its powers', noted the possible benefits to the State and remarked that:

It is the first time a State Government has ceded its powers on industrial relations to the Federal Government. A political leader [Mr Kennett], instead of simply bemoaning the absurdity of Australia's seven separate industrial relations systems, has at last done something about it .(13) </ ul>

The Melbourne Age of 12 November 1996 also welcomed the move, and noted:

Australia must deal with its industrial relations needs through an integrated approach, and the duplication of laws, tribunals and bureaucracies in this area has long been a drag on the economy. From a strictly parochial point of view, the decision to cede the powers will do nothing to hurt Victoria's image in the eyes of investors, who will see the state as one place on the continent with streamlined industrial relations laws: one set that applies to all workplaces.(14) </ ul>

Even some critics of the legislation, largely supporting a unitary approach but arguing that the specific referral of matters contemplated here falls well short of achieving an ideal result, have generally not suggested that the Commonwealth Parliament should reject the present Bill.(15)

Referral of Powers

Section 51 (xxxvii) of the Commonwealth Constitution provides that the Commonwealth Parliament 'may make laws for the peace, order and good Government of the Commonwealth' with respect to:

Matters referred to the Parliament of the Commonwealth by the Parliament or Parliaments of any State or States, but so that the law shall extend only to the States by whose Parliaments the matters is referred, or which afterwards adopt the law: </ ul>

As Lumb and Moens note, until recent times section 51(xxxvii) has not been an effective source of Federal-State co-operation except in limited instances. Recent examples of the referral of power include the Commonwealth Powers (Family Law - Children) Acts and the Mutual Recognition Acts.(16)

Key features of the referral power are that:

  • the subject matter to be ceded may be expressed in quite general terms
  • whether the affected State(s) retain power to legislate with respect to a certain matter once that matter is referred to the Commonwealth depends on the nature of the referral and whether the resulting Commonwealth law 'covers the field' (ie leaves no subject area which may be dealt with under a valid State law)
  • as noted above, the method of referral is to some degree circumscribed by implied constitutional limitations on the capacity of the Commonwealth to pass laws which either single-out or discriminate against a State(s) or interfere with a State so as to inhibit the performance of functions which are critical to its capacity to function as a government. In the case of the present proposal, the Commonwealth has accepted legal advice to the effect that it could not rely on the present referral of power to pass laws affecting the working conditions of certain State Office-holders. (A different form of 'referral' conferring the right to exercise Victorian powers on a federal industrial tribunal, would, in all probability, not be subject to such a prohibition.)
  • a referral under section 51(xxxvii) cannot be made in such a way as to bind the Parliament of a State or the Commonwealth in perpetuity
  • a referral may be limited in its scope and provision may be made in the enabling State Act for the referral to be revoked unilaterally
  • where a referral is terminated, the Commonwealth law, to the extent it relies on the referral, ceases to have effect
  • the referral must be effected by the State (ie the relevant legislation must commence) prior to the Commonwealth enacting any law in reliance on the referral. This limitation does not, however, prevent the Commonwealth Parliament debating the present Bill prior to the Victorian law coming into effect.

Main Provisions

Scope of referral

As previously noted, the operational provisions of the Bill (unless another head of power is employed) cannot go beyond matters referred to the Commonwealth by Victoria under the Commonwealth Powers (Industrial Relations) Bill 1996. Accordingly, the Commonwealth Bill largely complements the provisions of the State Bill. The Commonwealth Bill, however, does not reproduce in full the text of the proposed Victorian law and therefore reference is made below to the provisions of both Bills.

Clause 4 of the State Bill prescribes the 'matters' being referred to the Commonwealth. As conveniently summarised in the Commonwealth Department of Industrial Relations' Submission to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, those matters are:

  • conciliation and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes within the limits of Victoria (in other words, there will not be a requirement for interstateness in relation to the creation of disputes);
  • agreements about matters pertaining to the relationship between an employer or employers in Victoria and an employee or employees in Victoria (this will allow the Commonwealth's Workplace Relations Act provisions concerning certified agreements and Australian Workplace Agreements to apply to employers and employees who would not otherwise be able to use them, eg, an unincorporated employer who is not a party to an interstate dispute);
  • minimum terms and conditions of employment for employees in the State (this will allow the continuation of the minimum conditions guaranteed under the Employee Relations Act 1992 (Vic) for employees not covered by federal agreements and provide minima for employees transferring to the federal system who would have them provided by federal awards);
  • termination of employment at the initiative of the employer [this will allow the new federal termination provisions relating to harsh, unjust or unreasonable dismissals to apply to employees and employers (eg, unincorporated employers) who would otherwise be outside the scope of the provisions];
  • freedom of association (this will allow the new freedom of association provisions under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 to operate in relation to employers, employees and independent contractors otherwise beyond the scope of that legislation);
  • settling and adjusting minimum wages for employees in Victoria who are in a work classification declared in the Employee Relations Act 1992 (Vic) (this will allow the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) to periodically adjust minimum wages which must be paid to employees who are not under federal agreements or whose pay is not regulated by a federal award); and
  • the exercising by the AIRC of powers in relation to matters or disputes which arose before the commencement of the State referral legislation.

Clause 5 of the State Bill specifically limits the range of 'matters' referred to the Commonwealth under this measure. Those 'matters' not transferred to the Commonwealth, including a range of items which may be characterised as 'managerial prerogatives', are:

  • the number, identity, appointment and discipline of employees in the State Public Sector (including the State Public Service, some State Statutory Authorities and Government Business Enterprises);
  • the number or identity of employees in the public sector dismissed, or to be dismissed, on grounds of redundancy;
  • certain specified subject matters (worker's compensation; superannuation; occupational heath and safety; apprenticeship; long service leave; public holidays; equal opportunity), but only to the extent that they may not, under the Workplace Relations Act as at 30 November 1996, be included in agreements or awards (in other words, the limitation on the referral concerning these subject matters will only operate if the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cwlth) changes how they may be included in awards or agreements);
  • 'common rules', ie awards applying to employers generally in any given industry irrespective of whether they were served personally with the relevant log of claims, ('common rules' may be made in the States, and in the federal system in relation to the Territories, but are not included here as they were abolished in Victoria in 1992);(17)
  • Ministers, Members of Parliament, judicial officers or members of administrative tribunals;
  • statutory office-holders;
  • the number, identity, appointment (other than matters pertaining to terms and conditions of appointment not referred to in the paragraph), probation, promotion, transfer from place to place or position to position, physical or mental fitness, uniform, equipment, discipline or termination of employment of members of the police force, police reservists, police recruits or protective service officers;
  • holders of senior executive offices in State departments;
  • persons employed at higher managerial levels in the State public sector;
  • ministerial assistants or ministerial advisers;
  • Parliamentary officers;
  • transfer or redundancy of employees of a body restructured by a Victorian Act; and
  • duties of employees in situations of emergency or in relation to vital industries or projects declared to be such under a Victorian Act.

As with matters referred under the State Bill, these exclusions only limit the capacity of the Commonwealth to enact valid laws insofar as the Commonwealth seeks to rely on the referred power, and not some other head of Commonwealth power, to make laws affecting Victorian employment relations.

Matters of Contention

[Given the abbreviated time for consideration by the Commonwealth Parliament of this Bill, the following discussion concentrates on a number of issues raised in submissions to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee.]

State Laws overriding Federal Awards

Proposed subsection 493(2) of the Commonwealth Bill provides that the Commonwealth may make regulations providing that a law of Victoria may override an award or order made under the proposed law where that law applies to the resolution of industrial disputes in the Victorian public sector. It has been argued by the ACTU and the Victorian Trades Hall Council that such a provision unfairly discriminates against public sector employees. It may be noted, however, that section 121 of the (Commonwealth) Workplace Relations Act 1996 recognises the pre-existing capacity of the Commonwealth Government to take similar legislative action in relation to its own employees. It may be further noted, however, that this power has been infrequently exercised and its use has proven controversial.

Minimum Wages

Proposed section 500 seeks to continue the minimum conditions protected under the Employee Relations Act 1992 (Vic). Any entitlements gained under the State Act are not lost on transfer to the federal system.

Proposed section 501 empowers the AIRC to set or adjust minimum conditions of Victorian workers not covered by awards, certified agreements or an Australian Workplace Agreement. This measure is intended to allow the federal tribunal to continue the practice under the Employee Relations Act 1992 (Vic) whereby the Employee Relations Commission of Victoria may set minimum wages in declared industry sectors and work classifications. Proposed subsection 501(7) provides that the AIRC may take account of past practice in Victoria in making such adjustments.

More controversial are provisions dealing with deemed minimum terms of employment of workers transferring to the federal system. Proposed new arrangements will facilitate access to the federal system of industrial relations in Victoria but there may some employees in Victoria who may not initially be subject to federal awards or agreements. There is an issue as to whether those employees(18) should automatically gain access to minimum protections presently available under the federal Act or whether they should only retain the protections they currently enjoy. The legislation as currently framed appears to protect only the (less generous) State minima.

Bargaining Periods and Expiry of (State) Individual Employment Agreements

Under the Employee Relations Act 1992 (Vic), collective employment agreements must have a collective expiry date which cannot be more than 5 years after they come into force. Under sections 170MN and 170VU of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cwlth), industrial action is not protected in relation to the negotiation of collective agreements until the nominal expiry date of any pre-existing certified agreement or Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA). The Bill provides that those covered by State collective employment agreements cannot rely on protection for industrial action taken in pursuit of a new certified agreement or AWA until the existing agreement has expired or reached its nominal expiry date (see proposed sections 523-525).

Under the Employee Relations Act 1992 (Vic), individual employment agreements do not have an expiry date. However, under the federal scheme, a 3 year expiry period is specified (section 170VH). Proposed sections 523-525 are couched in such a way that the 3 year expiry period for existing individual employment agreements does not begin to run until the current Bill comes into effect.

Persons covered by a deemed agreement [taken to exist under the Employee Relations Act 1992 (Vic)] are not similarly restricted in seeking to negotiate a fresh certified agreement or AWA.

There may be some suggestion that these provisions are unnecessarily complex and needlessly perpetuate the operation of existing individual employee agreements. A suggested alternative would have been to make the nominal date of expiry for individual employment agreements 3 years from their date of commencement, not the commencement date of these amendments. The suggested alternative proposal appears to have, in part, been rejected to achieve administrative simplicity.

Stand down provisions

Proposed section 518 provides that stand down provisions are deemed to be inserted/remain in all employment agreements carried over from the Victorian system. Stand down provisions are not automatically included in federal awards or agreements. It is arguable, however, that such a provision merely maintains the status quo for State employees until new awards and agreements are made under the extended federal legislation.

Representation Rights and 'Conveniently Belong to'

The ACTU and Victorian Trade Hall Council's concerns in relation to representation rights are also discussed above. Although there is some potential for disruption to the federal system from the proposed easier entry requirement for current State associations, the principle that unions should be able to follow their members into the new system seems sound enough. Moreover, the combined effect of proposed sections 489, 534 and 535 appears to be that only State unions recognised immediately prior to the commencement date of this Act will be able to make 'transitional registration applications'. This would appear to limit the scope for possible abuse of the provisions. It may nonetheless have been preferable for the mooted regulations for giving effect to this proposal to have been discussed and settled with the interested parties prior to this Bill being presented.

Remarks

As indicated in the body of the Digest, some qualms have been expressed regarding the way in which this measure is being progressed. Doubts have also been voiced as to the true significance of the changes being proposed. On the other hand, the net positive effects of the proposed referral are not seriously disputed although there is a view that the measures proposed stop well short of creating a 'unitary' system for Commonwealth and Victorian industrial relations. The complexity of some provisions may also test the claim that the legislation will 'simplify' existing arrangements or reduce the regulatory or compliance costs of the existing dual systems.

Aspects of the package, including the proposed Victorian-Commonwealth Agreement on supporting measures and the foreshadowed regulations dealing with 'transitional recognition of State unions' have been criticised for not being spelled out earlier and in greater detail. Some special interest groups such as the Victorian Police Association have also voiced particular concerns. On the other hand, some of the apparent uneasiness appears to be overstated or misconceived.(19) In this context, the time initially scheduled in both the Commonwealth and the Victorian Parliaments to scrutinise the specifics of the referral proposal may have unduly exacerbated concerns about the wider implications of the package. (20) In fairness, however, it is worth noting that there are reasons for seeking to progress this matter quickly. The administrative changes that flow from this measure, principally the winding-up of the Employee Relations Commission of Victoria, make it desirable that debate be finalised before the end of the current Sittings.

Lastly, apart from some brief remarks by Senator Andrew Murray (Australian Democrats, WA) during the Senate Economics Legislation Committee's public hearing, it is interesting to note the comparative lack of public comment on or support for the existing federalist model of industrial relations and the checks and balances that it provides.

Endnotes

  1. The Police Association of Victoria, however, made written and oral submissions to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee asserting that the proposals reduce existing rights of some of their members with respect to unfair dismissal. The Association also claimed that the Victorian Bill (as amended) goes back on certain undertakings regarding coverage given by the Victorian Government to the Police Association.
  2. Justice Alan Boulton, 'Mechanisms for Promoting Co-operation between Federal and State Industrial Tribunals', (1990) 3 Australian Journal of Labour Law: 6.
  3. Australian Financial Review Seminar, 'Prospects for Arbitration, the Significance of the Hancock Report', 5 June 1985; and Address, Annual Convention of the Industrial Relations Society of South Australia, 1980.
  4. Amendments to subsection 111(1) of the Act formed part of the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment (No.2) Act 1992.
  5. Re SPSF (1993) 178 CLR 249; Re Australian Education Union; Ex parte State of Victoria (1995) 128 ALR 609; Re Dingjan; Ex parte Wagner (1995) 128 ALR 81; and Victoria and Others v Commonwealth (1996) 138 ALR 129.
  6. Labour Law: An Introduction, 2nd edition, 1994: 123 (fn 124).
  7. 12 November 1996. No ABS survey of award coverage has been published in recent years and the position is further complicated by the diffuse range of institutional and legal arrangements regulating employment relations in the Victorian system.
  8. The State law designed to refer power over Victorian industrial relations to the Commonwealth.
  9. Victorian Parliamentary Hansard, 19 November 1996. (proof)
  10. In debate on 19 November 1996, the Labor Spokesperson on Industrial Relations, Mr Brack, suggested that 'The Premier placed great importance on what he calls this "reform" but what we call his throwing in the towel, putting up the flag and saying his state industrial relations reforms have failed.'
  11. Hon T.C. Theophanous, Legislative Council, Victorian Hansard, 4 December 1996. The Victorian Government's Submission to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee provides evidence of an ongoing (if sporadically re-iterated) commitment to a unitary model (See attachment 1 to the Submission). The then Kennett Opposition's 1992 platform contained the commitment that 'A Coalition Government will be prepared to abolish the Victorian system totally after the Federal Coalition implements its reforms.'
  12. Hon T.C. Theophanous, op cit.
  13. Editorial.
  14. Editorial.
  15. Note, however, written and oral submissions made to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee by the Victoria Police Association.
  16. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia, 5th edition, 1995: 281-284.
  17. The Joint ACTU and Victorian Trades Hall Council Submission to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee is critical of this provision noting that the 'common rule nature of the State system was probably the most important feature that would have assisted in streamlining industrial regulation.' (page 5).
  18. Those persons engaged under common law employment contracts which are underpinned by Victorian statutory minima.
  19. Refer in particular to the persuasive closing remarks of Department of Industrial Relations, Deputy-Secretary, Mr Robin Stewart-Crompton, to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee: Hansard, 9 December 1996.
  20. Senator Dee Margetts (WA Greens) expressed such concerns in discussing the urgency of the Bill (Senate Hansard, 5 December 1996: 6331). See also, for example, Victorian Opposition Leader, Mr Brumby's comments in the Victorian Legislative Assembly on 19 November 1996 in relation to the time-tabling of the Commonwealth Powers (Industrial Relations) Bill 1996 (Vic).

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Bob Bennett Ph. 06 277 2430
11 December 1996
Bills Digest Service
Parliamentary Research Service

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further amendments.

PRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1323-9031
© Commonwealth of Australia 1996

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, 1996.

This page was prepared by the Parliamentary Library, Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated: 10 December 1996

Back to top


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print
Back to top