Legislative Council: Thursday, February 08, 2024


Statutes Amendment (Industrial Relations Portfolio) Bill

Second Reading

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (16:58): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

As members will be aware, portfolio bills provide the opportunity to make amendments that are often minor or technical in nature across a number of acts in one bill. This portfolio bill makes such amendments in relation to the naming conventions in several pieces of industrial legislation.

Part 2 of the bill amends the Fair Work Act 1994 to update references from the Fair Work Act to the Fair Work Commission. Part 3 of the bill amends the Public Holidays Act 2023 to insert bracketed names for each public holiday next to their date—notwithstanding that many of them have not had that in over a century—or, in the case of public holidays over Easter, the description of the day they fall on. These amendments will dispel a fear campaign that the Liberal Party has run targeting our often vulnerable veterans community, spreading misinformation about ANZAC Day and other public holidays.

In early December, I spoke to the president of the RSL in South Australia, Mr Dave Petersen, who spoke on radio talking about his frustration that veterans were calling him late into the night thinking that ANZAC Day had actually been completely cancelled. In discussions with him, he was not offended by the changes in the Public Holidays Act—that is, doing something that had been there for over a century—but was offended by the misrepresentations being made.

The last thing the government wants is for veterans to be treated as a political football, fearing that the sanctity of ANZAC Day has been eroded in any way by misinformation being spread. These amendments will guarantee that ANZAC and public holidays are treated as they always have been—as sacred days in this state. Part 4 of the bill amends the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 to update references to the 'Executive Director' to the 'regulator' consistent with the rest of the act.

I commend the bill to members of the chamber and seek leave to have the explanation of clauses inserted in Hansard without my reading it.

Leave granted.

Explanation of Clauses

Part 1—Preliminary

1—Short title


These clauses are formal.

Part 2—Amendment of Fair Work Act 1994

3—Amendment of section 4—Interpretation

This clause amends section 4 of the principal Act to replace the definition of Fair Work Australia with a definition of Fair Work Commission. This change reflects the name of the relevant body in the Fair Work Act 2009 of the Commonwealth.

4—Amendment of section 92—Retrospectivity

5—Amendment of section 100—Adoption of principles affecting determination of remuneration and working conditions

These clauses replace references to Fair Work Australia with references to the Fair Work Commission.

Part 3—Amendment of Public Holidays Act 2023

6—Amendment of section 3—Days fixed as public holidays

This clause amends section 3 of the principal Act to:

insert names of public holidays to correspond with the dates or days on which they fall; and

insert an explanation of which days Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday fall on in a year, to correspond with the names of the public holidays; and

replace references to the dates of public holidays with references to the names of the public holidays in the provisions about additional and substitute public holidays.

7—Amendment of section 4—Part-day public holidays

This clause amends section 4 of the principal Act to insert the names of part-day public holidays to correspond with the dates on which they fall.

Part 4—Amendment of Work Health and Safety Act 2012

8—Amendment of section 117—Entry to inquire into suspected contraventions

9—Amendment of section 277—Reviews

These clauses replace references to Executive Director with references to regulator. The principal Act provides (in section 4) that regulator means the Executive Director so the changes are simply providing consistency in language within the principal Act.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. L.A. Henderson.

At 17:00 the council adjourned until Tuesday 20 February 2024 at 14:15.