1.1        The government claims the Fair Work Amendment (Bargaining Processes) Bill 2014 makes improvements to our workplace relations laws by amending the Fair Work Act 2009 to:

1.2        Substantial evidence to the committee showed that this bill represents a substantial attack on the rights of Australian workers and their capacity to the take lawful industrial action and collectively bargain.

1.3        Numerous submissions to the committee from registered organisations and others outlined the dangers of this bill.

1.4        In a submission to the committee the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) summarised these concerns in the following manner:

The outcomes that the Bill seeks to engineer are twofold: - A reduction in the incidence of lawful industrial action; and - A reduction in the likelihood that bargaining will result in the approval of a collective agreement.[1]

1.5        The ACTU went on to outline in some detail how the legislation would breach Australia’s obligations under international law, including the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

1.6        The government has failed to make the case for these changes to our workplace relation laws.

1.7        Industrial action is at one of the lowest levels in last the fifty years and no substantial evidence was provided to the committee that showed why further restrictions on lawful industrial action are needed.

1.8        The Australian Greens are also concerned by the practical retrospective effect of the legislation in relation to the “greenfield” provisions.

Recommendation 1

1.9                  The Australian Greens will not be supporting the bill and recommend the government not proceed with the legislation.

Senator Lee Rhiannon
Australian Greens

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