Dissenting report – Mr Ramsey, Mrs Andrews and Mr Tudge
The Coalition members of the House of Representatives
Education and Employment support the committee’s decision to recommend the
House defer consideration of this bill until after the Government responds to
any recommendations the review of Fair Work Australia may make to the
Government are responded to.
However in doing so the Coalition members do not necessarily
endorse the general thrust of the legislation, which is to place further
enforceable responsibilities on employers.
The Coalition members are concerned definitions of carers,
and their entitlement to request flexibility is unclear and that “serious
countervailing business concerns” is a standard too difficult for businesses to
The Coalition members are of the opinion better results will
be achieved if employers are encouraged to work in a co-operative fashion with
their employees rather than engaging in an environment of confrontation by
government regulation enforcing particular outcomes.
While the Coalition members support the decision to defer
Parliament’s consideration of this bill until after the review of the Fair Work
act is complete and the government has responded, this does not endorse the
structure of the review.
Former Federal Court Judge Raymond Finkelstein once said “it
is naive to think that a judge's background, education, heritage and personal
ethical views do not influence their decisions”.
To this end the Coalition members are concerned the review
of Fair Work is being conducted by a hand chosen group of people who are likely
to reach conclusions favourable to the government.
The Coalition members are also concerned the Fair Work
review does not have instructions to consider productivity, flexibility or
militancy problems to which the Fair Work act may be contributing.
In this light while the Coalition members consider it
prudent to wait for the government’s consideration of the review, it is not of
the mind that a prima facie case exists to support the legislation in any case.
The intent of the bill and many submissions make the claim
that the bill will bring more flexibility to the workplace. Coalition members
strongly believe this will not be the case – indeed it is likely to lead to
confrontation in the workplace where an atmosphere of co-operation and mutual
benefit is much more productive for all concerned.
Rowan Ramsey MP
Karen Andrews MP
Alan Tudge MP