Govt has "no mandate" for IR changes - July 2016

The ACTU has vowed to work with the new Senate crossbench to thwart the re-elected Turnbull government's IR agenda.

ACTU president Ged Kearney congratulated Senator Michaelia Cash on retaining the Employment portfolio, but argued the Coalition had "no mandate for major and adverse industrial relations changes".

Kearney argued that the Minister failed to provide a detailed IR policy during the campaign and refused to release a formal response to the Productivity Commission’s report on workplace relations.

"The ACTU will work with crossbenchers in the Senate to ensure they understand these bills are dangerous and deeply unfair to working Australians," she said.

"The government’s only industrial relations agenda for the past three years has been pro big business, but Australians want the new government to stop the same old anti-worker rhetoric and partner with unions to create jobs, champion education and training, and turn around the disturbing levels of youth unemployment."

In reply, Minister Cash told Workplace Express that the ACTU response was "disappointing, yet hardly surprising".

She said the Coalition has already announced plans to:

  • re-establish the ABCC;
  • create a Registered Organisations Commission;
  • stamp out workplace corruption, such as requiring disclosure of secret payments;
  • protect vulnerable workers, including those exploited by franchises;
  • protect owner-driver truckies and volunteer firefighters.

The Minister said the re-elected government would have five workplace reform bills to put to the Parliament.

"This is a substantial reform agenda by any measure."