Keith Locke on the “Warners Bill” Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill – in Committee



I am sure my Labour colleagues will get a chance later on to speak on the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill. There are a lot of good suggestions that have come out for a title. One of the problems with them, though, is that they are a little bit long. I am trying to work on shortening it. For example, just using the term “Warners” rather than as requested would shorten it down a bit, such as the “Warners Employment Relation Amendment Bill” Just putting “Warners” in front, even as the “Warners Bill”, could be used to abbreviate it. Warner Bros is responsible for this bill, but we have to give it respect. I do not know whether it is within the Standing Orders—and possibly the Chair or the Minister in the chair, Kate Wilkinson, could inform us on this—to use the official Warner Bros logo. Is that possible within the Standing Orders? The Minister could tell me a bit later on. Certainly, we want to give Warner Bros recognition because it is the force behind this bill. I also think that it will have to cop all the flack for it, and that is fair enough. As opprobrium is heaped on this bill, as it causes all the legal tangles that I referred to in my second reading speech, and Charles Chauvel went into some detail, and as it collapses in confusion in the District Court, High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court, if it is called the “Warners Bill” we will know who is really responsible. We do not want Warner Bros to get off the hook in any way. Another very short term for the bill would be the “No Strike Bill”. It is very simple, because that is what it is about. It denies workers who are in the film industry the right to any collective industrial action at any stage in the production of film. Basically, it is because an employer, when they sign up an actor or film worker for a period, can say that that person has to sign up as an independent contractor with no rights or that person will not get the job. There is nothing the bill to stop employers acting in that way. I think we could have a simple title like the “Warners Bill”, the “No Strike Bill”, or perhaps we could join up those two concepts and have the “Warners No Strike Bill”. I think in some ways Warner Bros are lucky here because normally when we give naming rights and put logos on things, we charge the company concerned. Again, it might be against the Standing Orders to charge Warner Bros for having their logo on this bill. Even so, we are giving them a freebie. That is in the spirit of the bill and in the spirit of what the Government has done. Is it $100 million? I have lost track of the millions that the Government has just handed over to Warner Bros, but it would be in the spirit of that to give Warner Bros this freebie of naming rights to the bill and its logo on the bill, full stop. Thank you.