LABOR SENATORS' DISSENTING REPORT
The use of special coercive powers in the building industry are unnecessary
this Bill is rejected, from 1 June 2015, Fair Work Building Industry
Inspectorate (FWBII) inspectors would have the same powers in respect of
building matters as those available to inspectors of the Fair Work Ombudsman
(FWO) under the Fair Work Act (FWA).
The Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate has a full suite of appropriate
investigative and prosecution powers to deal with any unlawful behaviour in the
building and construction industry — whether by employers, employees, unions or
contractors. The existing Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 (Cth) is a
secure, fair and adequate regulator of industrial relations in Australia that:
enforcement that is based on education rather than prosecution;
common law rights of workers; and
for a genuinely independent compliance unit.
note that the FWBII’s coercive notices have only been relied on four times in
the 2013-14 period and twice in the period 2012-13
and are concerned that this does not support the Director’s contention that the
power is necessary.
Labor Senators therefore continue to remind the
Senate that no evidence exists to demonstrate that the powers currently
conferred by the Fair Work Act are anything but adequate and proportionate for
the purposes of industrial investigations.
The Government has failed to adequately consult
former Labor Government abolished the draconian Australian Building and
Construction and established the Fair Work Building Inspectorate.
establishing the new body, Labor acted on our election commitment to consult
widely, and as such appointed the respected former Justice, Murray Wilcox QC,
to undertake consultation and prepare a report on matters related to the
creation of a Specialist Division of the Inspectorate of Fair Work Australia,
the report of which was presented to Government in 2009. The resulting Bill
which gave effect to Mr Wilcox’s principle recommendations, was legislated in
true as stated in the Chair’s report that one of Mr Wilcox’s recommendations
was to retain coercive powers. We note that Mr Wilcox expressly recommended the
powers be subject to a sunset clause and that the retention of those powers be
the subject of a review. A sunset clause, by its nature, is placed in
legislation to require the Government to justify with evidence the need to
extend. The Government has not conducted any such review. A Senate Committee
inquiry undertaken ‘on the papers’ does not suffice.
the Government conducts an independent review into the extension of the sunset
clause we will not support the extension of coercive powers. Labor Senators
recommend that the Senate oppose the Bill.
Senator Sue Lines
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page