Federal bill - the debate is on

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Federal bill - the debate is on

Senator Cheryl Kernot, leader of the Australian Democrats, met with the federal Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr Peter Reith, on Thursday, to signal the start of the real debate over the federal Government’s Workplace Relations Bill 1996.

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Senator Cheryl Kernot, leader of the Australian Democrats, met with the federal Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr Peter Reith, on Thursday, to signal the start of the real debate over the federal Government’s Workplace Relations Bill 1996.

Senator Kernot and Mr Reith, together with Senator Andrew Murray, the Democrat Senator who sat on the Senate Committee which has recently concluded an inquiry into the Bill, met for two hours. As reported in a press release issued by Mr Reith on Thursday, 15 August (a release which was endorsed by the Democrats), the meeting was concerned with establishing an agenda for future discussions:

"Today’s discussions primarily focussed on the processes needed to work through the issues in an orderly manner, although Senator Kernot indicated in-principle support for the new unfair dismissal provisions.

"It was agreed to hold further detailed discussions in the fortnight prior to the resumption of Parliament in September. The aim is to have a pretty clear appreciation about outstanding issues by 9 September, recognising that the Committee stages of the debate in the Senate may not commence until the week starting 16 September at the earliest."

Accordingly, March 1997 continues to look the likely time for when the Bill will be enacted. What the Bill eventually says when it becomes law is anyone guess, as indicated by Mr Reith’s press release:

"Senator Kernot repeated her previously stated view that the Australian Democrats expect the Bill to pass, although there are aspects of the Bill that need further discussion."

 
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