Thursday, 4 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I again refer to his industrial relations legislation and, in particular, to schedule 3, part 5, clause 19. If the Prime Minister suspends the better off overall test, doesn't that mean that workers don't have to be better off overall?
An honourable member: It's not complex!
It is complex for the Leader of the Opposition! Let me read for all members of the House what clause 19 actually says in black and white: 'After "FWC may" (first occurring), insert "also".' Wow! He cannot even get the right clause. He simply—
Honourable members interjecting—
The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The Treasurer will cease interjecting. We'll get to you, Member for Clark; I won't forget. The Leader of the Opposition has asked a question. On how the minister answers it, I need to ensure they're relevant to the question, but I can't vet all statements for accuracy. In fact, I don't have a role in that. I just simply need to make sure he is being relevant to the question, and I think he was being relevant to the question. The Leader of the Opposition, on a further point of order?
In order to be relevant, the minister has to refer to the clause which is in the question, which says:
The FWC may approve the agreement under this section if the agreement is not a greenfields agreement and the FWC is satisfied that:
it is appropriate to do so taking into account all the circumstances, including—
And then there are four separate sections and a part (b). He has to refer to that, because that is what I quoted in the question, not whatever it is that he's going on about in order to make a point and avoid the substance of the cuts by the suspension of the better off overall test.
The minister will pause for a second. Members will cease interjecting. I want to make it very clear I'm now issuing a general warning. With everyone listening: if you are ejected for interjecting, don't be surprised. The minister has the call.
The provisions would amend section 189 of the Fair Work Act, which was put into that act by members opposite, which has a protection around the BOOT test which says that any decision of the Fair Work Commission could not be contrary to the public interest. Those words, which you put into the act—indeed, which were just read out by the Leader of the Opposition—are the same protections precisely replicated by the words that would be inserted by this government in this bill.