Prime Minister announces IR reform - oh no, here we go again

 

Really, is there no imagination in that Federal Government? Clearly emboldened by their unpredicted return, PM Scott Morrison has announced that the government will review the industrial relations system and initiate steps “provoking the “animal spirits” in our economy by removing regulatory and bureaucratic barriers to businesses investing and creating more jobs”.

Speaking to the WA Chamber of Commerce the PM announced this week that they needed “to get Australians off the economic sidelines and on the field again”. And while he did say “industrial relations changes “must be evidenced-based, protect the rights and entitlements of workers and have clear gains for the economy and for working Australians”, it’s hard not to be sceptical given John Howard’s WorkChoices and Tony Abbott’s WorkChoices II.

But while the initial announcement from the PM mentioned protecting the rights of workers, the Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has now announced a review of the “better off overall” test in enterprise bargaining, potential changes to unfair dismissal laws and a review of what constitutes a “casual” employee. The first two sound like trouble but a proper review of what constitutes a casual and casual employment is grossly overdue. Casual employment is an area where local government runs a risk, employing people as casuals, who are really part-time permanent employees...

Accompanying this reform is their Ensuring Integrity Bill, making it easier to disqualify lawbreaking unions and officials. Nothing for depa to fear, of course, but there must be a way of initiating another review of industrial relations that doesn’t have in the background their historic hatred of the CFMMEU.

It’s one thing to understand that if a building site has a CFMMEU flag flying from a crane that it’s going to automatically be a safer workplace, but wouldn’t it make all of our lives easier and more comfortable if they can do it without the criminals, sexual harassers and threatening boofheads making the trade union movement look like thugs.

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