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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017

On 1 March 2017 the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017. The Bill responds to a number of Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) investigations and prosecutions for significant and systemic breaches of employee entitlements, many of which were in the franchise sector. The Bill has been referred to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 9 May 2017.  The Committee received 35 submissions. The Bill is supported by a number of significant stakeholders, such as the Business Council of Australia and the union movement. It is opposed by the Franchise Council o... Read more...

Snapshot of employment by industry, 2017

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases quarterly estimates of employed people by industry (in their main job, where a person holds more than one job) in the publication Labour Force, detailed, quarterly, cat. no. 6291.0.55.003. Data is available since November 1984, with the most recent data being February 2017. The next available data (May 2017) will be released on 22 June 2017. Read more...

Work for the Dole program to stay

There have been reports that the Government was considering winding up the Work for the Dole program as part of this year’s Budget. However, in a subsequent media release Minister for Employment Senator Michaelia Cash stated that the Government will not be abolishing Work for the Dole. This FlagPost provides a brief overview of the program. Work for the Dole—background In a June 1986 speech, Prime Minister Bob Hawke raised the idea of a work for the dole scheme: First, while society has a responsibility to the unemployed, this is a two-way process. The time has come, we believe, when this two-way responsibility will best be served by providing as far as possib... Read more...

Do waiting periods for income support improve employment outcomes? Lessons from Belgium

Since 2013 the Government has sought to introduce a four-week waiting period for the most work-ready new claimants of Youth Allowance (Other) and Special Benefit who are aged under 25 years. During this waiting period, new claimants would be required to undertake a number of job search activities in order to qualify for income support after their waiting period has been served. The stated objective of the waiting period measure is to ‘set the clear expectation that young people must make every effort to maximise their chances of successfully obtaining work’. There are very few international examples of up-front waiting periods for income support. If there could be said to be a &... Read more...

You work where? Where Australians Lived and Worked, 2006 and 2011

The Parliamentary Library has constructed two maps using Census data to illustrate the journeys Australians took to travel to work in 2006 and 2011.    Click for larger images.   About the data The lines on the above maps represent the net journeys between regions. The net journey is the difference between the number of people travelling to and from two regions. For example, if five people travelled from region B to region A and three people travelled from region A to region B, the net number of journeys to from region B to region A is two. No indication of direction of travel is given in these maps. A line’s thickness is representative of the net number of people trave... Read more...

The 'mind-body problem' and proposed DSP reforms

The interim report of the Review of Australia’s Welfare System led by Patrick McClure was released on 29 June 2014. The report contains proposals for significant reforms to the Disability Support Pension (DSP). The reforms would see the DSP reserved for people with a permanent impairment and no capacity to work. Those people with a partial capacity to work would be placed on a lower tiered working age payment and provided with support to improve their employment capacity. The proposals represent an attempt to deal with the perverse incentive for income support claimants to apply for DSP, which has a higher rate of payment and reduced activity testing, rather than allowance payments l... Read more...

Fair Work Commission clarifies differences between a support person and advocate

In February 2014, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down a judgement in which the nature and role of a ‘support person’ in discussions relating to a dismissal were discussed.  Read more...

Youth unemployment rates in small geographic areas - 2013

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently changed the dissemination of regional data from the monthly Labour Force Survey to reflect a new geographic standard. The Labour Force Survey is a key source of data on employment, unemployment, the labour force and associated rates and ratios.  Read more...

Parliamentary Library Lecture: Innovation and job targets the keys to disability employment

Craig Wallace, President of People with Disability Australia, has told a Parliamentary Library Lecture that poverty for people with disabilities in Australia will not be overcome by changes to the system of income support. Instead, he argued, Australia should commit to a national challenge to create jobs for people with disabilities over the next decade. Mr Wallace argued that ‘Australia has a troubling record on jobs on disability’: We rank 21st out of 29 OECD countries in employment participation rates for those with a disability. We rank 27th of the 27 in terms of the correlation between disability and poverty. 45 percent of people with a disability live in, or near, pov... Read more...

Fair Work Commission hands down landmark ruling on anti-bullying regime

Fair Work Commission hands down landmark ruling on anti-bullying regime On 6 March 2014, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) ruled that its jurisdiction to hear complaints from workers who allege they are victims of workplace bullying extends to complaints that relate to bullying that occurred prior to the anti-bullying regime coming into force.   Background As detailed in a previous flag post, the reforms related to bullying were introduced by the Fair Work Amendment Act 2013, which provided the FWC with jurisdiction to hear complaints from workers covered by the Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA) who allege they are victims of workplace bullying. On 9 January 2014, Ms Kathleen McInnes... Read more...