Abetz to undo Shorten’s work

by Cameron Edmond20 Nov 2013

The Coalition promised voters a return to the ‘sensible centre’ for workplace relations. Minister for Employment, Senator Eric Abetz, has begun the move towards this by peeling back on changes put in place by former Minister for Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten.

Senator Abetz told an Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) conference on 15 November laws that were perceived to give unions too much power – such as allowing them to hold meetings in employee lunch rooms – would be reversed early next year, The Age reported.

The law requiring employers to facilitate union access to remote sites would also be removed. While The ALP has voiced its opposition, Steve Knott, chief executive of AMMA, supported these changes.

When asked for comment, a media representative for Senator Abetz directed HC to The Coalition’s workplace relations policy it released in May.

The Coalition has also begun other motions to remove power from unions, through presenting legislation on 14 November that would mean up to six months jail-time for those refusing to co-operate with the reinstated ‘union watchdog’, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

The ABCC will be able to compel individuals to give information, provide documents and answer questions about suspected breaches of the law.

"Today we moved to reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission because this side of the House represents workers in Australia and the other side of the House represents union leaders," Education Minister Christopher Pyne said.

Those ordered to attend questioning before the ABCC can be represented by a lawyer if they wish.

The move has strong support from business groups, but faces opposition from unions, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Greens Deputy Leader Adam Brandt called the move a “curtain-raiser to the government's return to WorkChoices”.


Image source: abetz.com.au


What do you think of the changes?



  • by RivercityIR 20/11/2013 1:12:35 PM

    I still find it amusing that employers keep going to employer associations for IR advice. Having them meet in a lunchroom is exactly what you want. That way you know where they are at all times!!...Truly boggles the mind that employers can't see that these associations are no better than the unions themselves. Purely looking at figures on paper with no real focus on working to actually benefit the members who pay their wages.

  • by kevin 20/11/2013 5:09:32 PM

    you must spend a lot of time under water at Rivercity because if you had experience with militant union officials and your own employees who simply want to enjoy their own amenities rather than be monstered by some over officious union official you would not make the comments you have.

  • by RivercityIR 20/11/2013 5:35:46 PM

    Clearly kevin you are perfectly ok with union officials walking around your business taking things off desks, printers, disrupting staff working and exposing an outside individual to sensitive company information. Put them in the corner of the lunch room, give them explicit instructions on there conduct and then ensure they comply. If they don't, then eject them from your business and get FWC to assist with orders.....Not rocket science.

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