Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Employment, Senator Abetz. I refer to reports that during budget negotiations Senator Bob Day has raised with the government a proposal to allow young job seekers to 'opt out' of the Fair Work Act if they find a job but the employer cannot afford to meet minimum pay and conditions. Can the minister confirm that this proposal is on the table as part of the budget negotiations?
Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I refer to reports that Senator Day has indicated that the government sees his proposal as 'an eminently sensible approach'. Minister, who in the government told Senator Day his proposal to relieve young job seekers from the protections afforded by the Fair Work Act is eminently sensible?
I suggest that Senator McEwen should ask her fellow South Australian senator, Senator Day, whether those reports are correct and, if they are, the source of those reports. I can indicate that the government's policy remains as it was in May 2013, when we announced our policy.
I suppose that if they are that secret, nobody will know what is in the terms of reference! I can indicate to the senator that the terms of reference will be exceptionally broad to allow the whole gamut of the fair work regime to be considered—something that the previous federal Labor government studiously refused to do. They ensured that their legislation was not subjected to a regulatory impact statement, as it should have been. Indeed, Prime Minister Rudd at the time exempted it, and they then tried to have this review with hand-picked individuals with skewed terms of reference. We said at all times that review should go to the Productivity Commission with a very wide agenda, and that is what we will be doing—and announcing it in due course.