A couple of weeks ago the Federal Government surprised everybody including itself by winning the election.
The ink is hardly dry on the official verdict (which will be a two or a three seat absolute majority in the House of Reps) and we are seeing an Industrial Relations Agenda playing out before our eyes. That’s right folks. It’s Australia and it’s all about the tension between unions, bosses and workers. Some things never change…
The agenda finds its substance in a creature called the Ensuring Integrity Bill of August 2017. Clients of Workplace Advisory Group should not feel guilty if they have never heard of the Ensuring Integrity Bill. Most Australians have never heard about it either.
The bill was introduced by the former Minister Craig Laundy. It empowers the Federal Court to disqualify union officials who are convicted of a criminal offence that brings with it five (5) years jail or more. It also empowers the Federal Court to deregister trade union who repeatedly breach the law or whose officials engage in corrupt conduct.
No prizes for guessing the union at which this legislation was aimed: the CFMEU (now merged with the Maritime Union of Australia and known as the CFMMEU). The bill did not pass the Senate but has not been withdrawn either. Will the Morrison Government reintroduce it? Well, that just might happen. Over the weekend we have seen some senior CFMMEU officials in NSW arrested for cocaine trafficking and the Victorian boss of the CFMMEU John Setka indicate he would plead guilty to harassing a woman (as well as saying some appalling things about Rose Batty). You would have to think the CFMMEU is in the danger zone for deregistration. The maritime officials within the CFMMEU might be wondering whether the merger was such a good idea.