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Fair Work Amendment Bill 2012

Originating house
House of Representatives
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations


Amends: the Fair Work Act 2009 to: change the name of Fair Work Australia to the Fair Work Commission (FWC); require the FWC to review default superannuation fund terms of modern awards every four years; make technical changes in relation to striking out applications to vary modern awards in certain circumstances and in relation to the parties able to apply to amend modern awards; provide that enterprise agreements cannot be made with a single employee; provide that a union official from one union cannot act as a bargaining representative where that union does not have coverage; prohibit terms which enable employees to opt out of an enterprise agreement; provide that an applicant for a scope order fully informs other bargaining representatives; clarify the form and content requirements contained in notices of employee representational rights; shorten the time limit for applying to the FWC to mediate or conciliate dismissal related disputes; clarify that workplace rights apply to persons including employees, employers and contractors; extend the time limit for lodging unfair dismissal applications with the FWC; enable the FWC to dismiss an unfair dismissal application in certain circumstances; provide for the FWC to order costs against a party and/or their representative in unfair dismissal matters; clarify that protected action ballots can be conducted by electronic voting methods; clarify the eligibility of certain employees who are union members and who are acting as bargaining representatives to be included in a protected action ballot; require protected action ballots to be conducted expeditiously; enable stay orders to be made by presidential members; require FWC members to disclose a conflict of interest to persons making submissions in a matter, as well as to the president; clarify the mechanism by which matters may be referred to a full bench when it is in the public interest to do so; allow for the appointment of the general manager and acting commissioners; establish a process for handling complaints against FWC members; provide for the development of a code of conduct for FWC members; clarify that the Act is generally a ‘no costs’ jurisdiction (including in appeal proceedings); make a technical correction; and make amendments consequential on changing the name of Fair Work Australia; the Fair Work Act 2009, Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 and Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 to provide for the establishment of an expert panel within the FWC to exercise certain functions in relation to the assessment of default superannuation funds for inclusion in modern awards and annual wage reviews; and create two statutory positions of vice president; the Fair Work Act 2009 and Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 in relation to members of the FWC and the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal engaging in outside work; and 22 other Acts to make amendments consequential on changing the name of Fair Work Australia.

Progress of bill

For committee reference information, please see the Notes section at the end of this page.

House of Representatives
Introduced and read a first time 30/10/12  
Second reading moved 30/10/12  
Second reading debate 31/10/12  
Second reading agreed to 31/10/12  
Third reading agreed to 31/10/12  
Introduced and read a first time 01/11/12  
Second reading moved 01/11/12  
Second reading debate 27/11/12  
Second reading agreed to 27/11/12  
Committee of the Whole debate 27/11/12  
Committee of the Whole debate 28/11/12  
Third reading agreed to 28/11/12  
Text of bill as passed both Houses 28/11/12  
Assent 04/12/12 Act no.: 174 - Year: 2012

Text of bill

  • First reading

  • As passed by both Houses


Explanatory memoranda

  • Explanatory memorandum


Second reading speeches

Proposed amendments

  • Australian Greens [sheet 7309]
MILNE, Sen Christine

  • Australian Greens [sheet 7318]
WRIGHT, Sen Penny

  • Opposition [sheet 7304]
CORMANN, Sen Mathias

  • Opposition [sheet 7305]
ABETZ, Sen Eric


Schedules of amendments

Bills Digest

  • Referred to Committee (01/11/2012): Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee; Committee report (26/11/2012)
  • Access information for House of Representatives and Senate committees
  • An electronic version of this Act is available in ComLaw ( www.comlaw.gov.au )