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Why not troubleshooters on the waterfront?



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NEW S RELEASE J O H N H O W A R D , M . P .

M E M B E R F O R B E N N E L O N G S H A D O W M IN IS T E R F O R IN D U S T R IA L R E L A T IO N S , E M P L O Y M E N T & T R A IN IN G

IRET 13/90

WHY NOT TROUBLESHOOTERS ON THE WATERFRONT?

The decision of the Full Bench of the Federal Court in the Troubleshooters case has historic implications for Australia's industrial relations system.

By deciding that workers engaged by Troubleshooters remain independent contractors and do not become employees the Court has dramatically confirmed the method by which, in certain ยท industries, the whole award structure can be bypassed through the use of contract labour.

It injects a spectacular new element of flexibility and is yet another demonstration of just how important it is for unions - like all of us - to be subjected to the ordinary processes of the laws of Australia.

There is no reason why contract labour could not from time to time be used on the Australian waterfront. The results could be extremely beneficial. Such a move of course would not be contemplated by the Hawke Government's so called reform program.

The decision - like the earlier Federal Court decision in the meat industry - starkly shows again the potency of Section 45(D) of the Trade Practices Act which I, as a minister in the Fraser Government, introduced.

The combination of the Troubleshooters decision and Coalition policy to abolish compulsory unionism and the closed shop could totally transform the industrial relations of the building industry throughout Australia.

My real fear now is that Labor Governments both federal and state could seek to legislate to overturn the effect of the Court decision. Any moves in this direction would need to be resisted by all those committed to a free labour market.

SYDNEY 22 March 1991