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Workplace Relations (Registered Organisations) (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2001

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1998-1999-2000-2001

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

workplace relations (REGISTERED ORGANISATIONS) (CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS) bill 2001

 

 

 

REVISED SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

(Amendments to be moved on behalf of the Government)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations

and Small Business, the Honourable Tony Abbott MP)

 



WORKPLACE RELATIONS (REGISTERED ORGANISATIONS) (CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS) BILL 2001

 

(Amendments to be moved on behalf of the Government)

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The Government is proposing minor amendments to Schedule 1 and the insertion of a new Schedule 4 to the Bill. 

 

Amendments to Schedule 1

The amendments to Schedule 1 relate to the substitute Division 7 of Part 3 of Chapter 8 of the Workplace Relations (Registered Organisations) Bill 2001 (RO Bill) (which provides for members’ access to the financial records of reporting units) that operates during the transitional period.  Equivalent amendments are proposed to the RO Bill.

 

Amendments to Schedule 4

The amendments to Schedule 4 relate to the right of entry provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WR Act). 

 

Section 285C of the WR Act allows permit holders, in prescribed circumstances, to enter premises for the purpose of holding discussions with employees.  The proposed amendment would provide that a permit holder cannot enter a premises where there are no more than 20 employees employed at the premises, none of which are union members, and those employees are all employed by an employer who holds a certificate of conscientious objection issued under section 267 of the WR Act (or the equivalent provision in the proposed RO Act). 

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The proposed amendments are not expected to have any impact on Commonwealth expenditure.



NOTES ON AMENDMENTS

 

Amendment No. 1 - Clause 2, page 2 (after line 12)

Amendment No. 1 would insert a new subclause 2(4A) that provides that Item 1 and 2 of  the proposed new Schedule 4 would commence on the 28 th day after the day this Act receives Royal Assent.

 

SCHEDULE 1 - TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

 

Item 47 of Schedule 1 creates a substitute Division 7 of Part 3 of Chapter 8 of the RO Act that will operate (instead of the provisions of the proposed RO Act) during the transition period (that is, the period between commencement and the first full financial year of a reporting unit after the commencement of the Industrial Registrar’s reporting guidelines under section 244 of the proposed RO Act).

 

Amendments 2 to 5 propose technical amendments to this Division.  Equivalent amendments are proposed in relation Division 7 of Part 3 of Chapter 8 of the RO Act (to ensure that equivalent arrangements apply during and after the transition period).

Amendment No. 2 - item 47, page 24 (line 17)

Amendment No. 2 would amend substitute subclause 261(6) to correct a technical deficiency.

 

Substitute clause 261 allows either a member or a Registrar on behalf of the member to apply to a reporting unit for specified prescribed information concerning its financial affairs.  This is not reflected in substitute subclause 261(6) (which refers only to an application by a member).  Amendment No. 2 would correct this defect.

 

Amendment No. 3 - item 47, page 24 (after line 251)

Amendment No. 4 - item 47, page 25 (after line 5)

Substitute clause 262 enables a member of a reporting unit to apply for an order from the Australian Industrial Relations Commission allowing inspection of a reporting unit’s financial records where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting a breach of financial requirements by the reporting unit.

 

Amendment No. 3 would make a minor technical amendment to substitute subclause 262(1) consequential upon the change proposed by Amendment No. 4.

 

Amendment No. 4 would insert a new substitute subclause 262(2A) to provide that the Commission may only order access to the financial records of a reporting unit in respect of those records that relate to the suspected breach.

 

Amendment No. 5 - 47, page 25 (line 16)

Amendment No. 5 would omit the legislative note after substitute clause 263.

 

SCHEDULE 4 - AMENDMENTS ABOUT ENTRY TO PREMISES

 

Workplace Relations Act 1996

 

This Schedule proposes amendments to the right of entry provisions of the WR Act. 

 

Division 11A of Part IX of the WR Act establishes a system whereby a registered organisation can apply to an Industrial Registrar for the issue of a permit to an officer or employee.  The permit holder then has the right, subject to limitations set out in the WR Act, to enter workplaces for the purposes of investigating suspected breaches of the WR Act or industrial instruments, and for holding discussions with employees.

 

Item 1 - Subsection 285C(1)

Item 1 would make a minor technical amendment to existing subsection 285C(1) consequential upon the changes proposed by Item 2.

 

Item 2 - At the end of section 285C

Item 2 would amend section 285C of the WR Act.  Section 285C allows permit holders, in prescribed circumstances, to enter premises for the purpose of holding discussions with employees.

 

Item 2 would insert a new subsection 285C(3).  This new subsection would provide that a person may not enter a premises where there are 20 or fewer employees, none of which are union members, employed at the premises, and those employees are all employed by an employer who holds a certificate of conscientious objection issued under section 267 of the WR Act.  [In cases in which this exemption would apply, entry under section 285B (i.e. entry in relation to breaches of the WR Act, awards or certified agreements) would not be available, as to enter under section 285B, the organisation must have members at the workplace.]

 

Item 3 - Paragraph 285C(3)(b)

Item 3 would make a consequential amendment to section 285C (3)(b) of the WR Act on the commencement of the RO Act to replace a reference to 267 of the WR Act with a reference to section 178 of the RO Act.