Fair Work Amendement Bill 'shambolic': MBA

by AB11 Jun 2013

The passage of the Fair Work Amendment Bill through the House of Representatives last week brings a fundamental change to the workplace relations system and can ‘only lead to detrimental outcomes for employers’, argues Master Builders Australia CEO, Wilhelm Harnisch.

Harnisch says the passage of the ‘hastily proposed and poorly thought-out’ Bill so close to a federal election is regrettable, because there’s no pressing urgency for any of the changes.

"The unbalanced Fair Work Act will now be thrown further out of kilter by the expansion of union right-of-entry provisions, which permit the unions to use lunch rooms for meetings and requires employers to help permit holders access travel and accommodation in so-called remote locations.”

The only positive from the passage of the bill, Harnisch says,  is the fact that the anti-bullying provisions are set to commence from January 1, 2014, rather than next month.

"Strangely, instead of including the anticipated right to arbitrate in respect of greenfields bargaining and so-called intractable disputes, the Bill now delivers consent arbitration in termination of employment and general protection matters.”

"Compulsory arbitration is unnecessary, as these matters are properly heard by the courts. The Fair Work Commission's new function has potential to cause legal doubt because the Commission is not a court with judicial power. We can expect legal turbulence as a result of any consent arbitration outcome, particularly in the general protections area where uncapped compensation is able to be awarded.”

"The shambolic way the Bill was passed reinforces Master Builders' view that it should not have proceeded in such haste. Its passage will have many adverse and unforeseen consequences.”