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Amendments fail to protect independent contractors or the contracting system



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NEWS RELEASE JOHN HOWARD, M.P.

M EM BER FOR BENNELONG SHADOW MINISTER FOR IN DUSTRIAL

RELATIONS, E M PLO YM EN T & TRAINING

IRET 37/92

AMENDMENTS FAIL TO PROTECT INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS OR THE CONTRACTING SYSTEM

Claims that amendments to the Industrial Relations Bill will put independent contractors and contractual arrangements beyond the reach of the trade unions and the industrial relations commission are false.

They are arrant nonsense.

The bill goes way beyond its stated aim of detecting sham contracts - a power the commission already has and regularly exercises - to increase the trade unions' privileged status within the industrial relations

jurisdiction.

The amendments remove some of the most obnoxious provisions of what is a thoroughly obnoxious bill.

But the amended bill remains a threat to the entire contracting system.

It legalises the currently illegal practice of unions conscripting contractors.

It leaves employers liable to be hauled into the commission by a union or a disaffected contractor to justify the contract and to explain why it is not against the "public interest" - presumably, that it will not threaten the integrity of the existing award system which

the unions are seeking to extend to contractors.

And it leaves the commission with the power to cancel the contract or to vary it - a power that defies practice and almost certainly is unconstitutional.

The amendments were aimed exclusively at the contracting provisions. They do nothing to prevent the bill from perverting the certified agreement process.

COMMONWEALTH

parliamentary LIBRARY MICA'rl

The bill ...

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The bill insists that unions be parties to certified agreements, so preventing employees who are not members of a trade union from entering into a certified agreement with their employer.

The Opposition was totally opposed to the original bill. It remains totally opposed to the new bill.

CANBERRA

4 June 1992