Bearish start to IR reform talks

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 4-Jun-20

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter held the first meeting with representatives of the union movement and employers’ groups on 3 June, as part of a collaborative approach to workplace reforms. He said that both groups appreciate the need for change. Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott said employers and unions must be prepared to make compromises, while ACTU secretary Sally McManus said unions are open to changing the ‘better off overall test’. Meanwhile, the Treasury warned that it could take 5-7 years for the economy to recover from the pandemic, and that the unemployment rate could be 8-9 per cent by 2021.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS,BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA,ACTU

Porter puts bill on hold as he seeks union help

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 22-May-20

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has advised that the federal government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill is not a legislative priority at present. He says the government’s immediate focus will be on seeking the union movement’s support for economic and workplace reforms in the wake of the pandemic. Australia’s major political parties agree that addressing problems with the enterprise bargaining system will be a key element of any reform process.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS

Company tax rate back on table

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 23-Apr-20

Deregulation, tax reform and changes to the industrial relations system are expected to be the federal government’s priorities when the coronavirus pandemic abates. The Coalition is of the view that the economy will need reforms of a similar magnitude to those implemented by the Hawke-Keating Labor government three decades ago. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg notes that Australia’s company tax rate remains high by global standards, although he has ruled out any changes to the GST at present. The government has also signalled its intention to revive the Ensuring Integrity Bill.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

PM strong-arms union busting bill into Senate

Original article by Joe Kelly, Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 7 : 6-Dec-19

The House of Representatives voted 75-65 to pass the Ensuring Integrity Bill on 5 December, after the federal government used its numbers to get the legislation through the lower house without any debate. The move was criticised by Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who accused the government of attempting to avoid scrutiny. The bill will return to the Senate when parliament resumes in 2020, after having been voted down by the upper house in late November.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Coalition manoeuvres to keep union bill alive

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 4-Dec-19

The federal government will reintroduce the Ensuring Integrity Bill to the lower house on 4 December, after it was recently voted down in the Senate. The bill includes the amendments that were requested by Centre Alliance and One Nation, and Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has indicated that the government may be open to further changes in order to secure the bill’s support in the Senate. Porter has rejected suggestions that the bill would enable unions to be deregistered for minor breaches of workplace laws, such as administrative errors.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, CENTRE ALLIANCE, ONE NATION PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

One Nation backtracks on unions

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 22-Nov-19

The federal government is expected to release proposed amendments to the Ensuring Integrity Bill on 22 November. It is believed to have backed Centre Alliance’s proposal for a demerit points system for unions and officials who breach workplace laws, as well as amendments put forward by One Nation. However, One Nation has withdrawn proposed amendments that would have allowed unions to be deregistered over unprotected industrial action that could have a ‘substantial adverse effect’ on the economy.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, CENTRE ALLIANCE, ONE NATION PARTY, ACTU, AUSTRALIAN MINES AND METALS ASSOCIATION (INCORPORATED), CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA

Complex awards on IR agenda

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 22-Nov-19

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter will release a discussion paper on workplace relations in 2020. He has flagged a review of the modern awards system, reiterating recent comments by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that it has become too complex. Porter notes that awards in the hospitality, retail and restaur­ant sectors in particular merit review. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox has suggested simplifying awards by enshrining some employee entitlements in the Fair Work Act, such as leave, redundancy pay and requests for flexible work arrangements.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN PAYROLL ASSOCIATION, CENTRE ALLIANCE, ONE NATION PARTY, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, 7-ELEVEN STORES PTY LTD, SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, MICHAEL HILL INTERNATIONAL LIMITED – ASX MHJ, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION

PM to take a sword to red tape, boost jobs

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 21-Nov-19

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has outlined a range of initiatives aimed at boosting investment and jobs. He has used a Business Council of Australia speech to reveal plans for a one-stop online portal for companies to lodge applications for environmental approvals; he says it could slash the amount of time required to approve major mining and infrastructure projects by 6-18 months. Morrison also flagged an overhaul of the industry awards system, arguing that while the number of awards was reduced by Labor, many have become more complex.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Union bill set to pass, with or without Setka

Original article by Phillip Coorey, Joanna Mather
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 25-Oct-19

The federal government is believed to have secured Centre Alliance’s support for the Ensuring Integrity Bill after agreeing to some changes to the draft legislation. Independent senator Jacqui Lambie maintains that she will back the legislation unless John Setka resigns as the Victorian secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union. Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has in turn urged Labor to sever its ties with the militant union, arguing that the problem is "much bigger" than Setka.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, CENTRE ALLIANCE, ONE NATION PARTY

Setka exit deepens Labor rift

Original article by Phillip Coorey, David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 24-Oct-19

The federal government’s hopes of passing the Ensuring Integrity Bill have been boosted by John Setka’s refusal to step down as Victorian secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union. Setka’s resignation from the Labor party on 23 October has pre-empted an upcoming meeting of its national executive, which had been expected to expel him from the party. However, independent senator Jacqui Lambie maintains that she will back the legislation unless Setka also resigns from his CFMMEU role. Setka’s resignation has been welcomed by Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who led the push to have him expelled.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY