Crossbench on front foot over IR

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 8 : 17-Feb-21

The federal government will not proceed with legislation to allow coronavirus-hit employers to temporarily bypass the Fair Work Act’s ‘better off overall test’. The ACTU and Senate crossbenchers have welcomed the decision, but contend that further changes to the industrial relations omnibus bill are needed. Shadow industrial relations minister Tony Burke says the government had only backed down because it would not get the proposed reform through the Senate. Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott says the remaining changes in the omnibus bill will ‘reinvigorate’ the enterprise bargaining system.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Senior academics warn against IR bill

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 9-Feb-21

Professor Andrew Stewart from the University of Adelaide is among 23 labour law experts who have criticised key elements of the federal government’s omnibus industrial relations bill. Professor Stewart says a particular concern is the proposal to exempt some enterprise agreements from the ‘better-off-overall test’ for two years. The senior academics have also questioned the proposed definition of a casual worker. Professor Stewart stresses that the academics support some parts of the bill, such as increased penalties for wage theft.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE

Fair Work president resists Porter IR plan

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 8-Feb-21

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has rejected criticism of the federal government’s proposal for the Fair Work Commission to approve enterprise agreements within 21 days. FWC president Iain Ross has argued that this requirement is unnecessary and could result in unintended consequences, such as giving approval to workplace agreements that are subsequently found to contain technical or substantive defects. Justice Ross also warns that more applications for enterprise agreements may be withdrawn or rejected under the proposed reforms. The Senate will begin an inquiry into the omnibus industrial relations bill on 8 February.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EDUCATION, SKILLS AND EMPLOYMENT, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Labor snubs job-saving IR reboot

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 14 : 9-Dec-20

Labor has advised that it will not support a key provision in the federal government’s industrial relations omnibus bill. The controversial reform would allow the Fair Work Commission to approve enterprise agreements that do not comply with the ‘better-off-overall test’ in the Fair Work Act. The FWC will be able to take into account factors such as the impact of COVID-19 in approving non-compliant agreements. ACTU secretary Sally McManus says the proposed reform is ‘diabolical’, although it has been welcomed by business groups

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU

Kelty approves of super-union divorce move

Original article by Ewin Hannan, Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 5 : 9-Dec-20

The federal government’s hopes of getting the unions demerger bill through parliament before it rises for the year have been boosted after Labor signalled that it will not opposed the legislation. Former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty has expressed support for the legislation, and he contends that breaking up the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union would be quite easy as it is an ‘amalgamation of divisions’. However, Electrical Trades Union national secretary Allen Hicks says that despite targeting the CFMMEU, the legislation would have ‘unintended consequences’ for the entire union movement, and he has urged Labor to reject it.

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

A-G slams wharfies holding state to ransom

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 3 : 28-Sep-20

The federal government may intervene to end an industrial dispute at the Port Botany terminal of stevedoring firm Patrick. Attorney-General Christian Porter has indicated that he would be open to supporting Patrick if it applies to the Fair Work Commission to halt the Maritime Union of Australia’s industrial action. The MUA’s national secretary Paddy Crumlin says it is negotiating with stevedoring companies in good faith. He rejects suggestions that the legal industrial action has caused the massive delays at Port Botany that have been alleged by Patrick.

CORPORATES
PATRICK CORPORATION LIMITED,MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA,AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION,AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT

Frydenberg backs wider IR changes

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 5 : 24-Jul-20

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg identified industrial relations reform as a key priority for the federal government after releasing the economic update on 23 July. He will push for temporary changes to the Fair Work Act to be extended to include businesses that will no longer be eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy at the end of September. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox has backed the proposal, but ACTU president Michele O’Neil contends that the more flexible workplace arrangements should not be available to businesses that are no longer struggling.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, ACTU

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