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Independent contractors - a capitulation on the way?



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NEWS 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 SH A D O W MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL

RELATIONS, E M P L O Y M E N T & TRAINING

IRET 33/92

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS - A CAPITULATION ON THE WAY?

Senator Cook's advice that what he had in mind was to seek a High Court view on the existing jurisdiction of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission over independent contractors and not the constitutionality of his BWIU-inspired - amendments does not alter one iota the substance of my charge

that he is talking constitutional gobbledegook.

It remains the case that the High Court does not give advisory opinions. My comments regarding the status of parties affected by the legislation and state attorneys-general remain.

The Minister's stated intention to proceed with his amendments on independent contractors in the present sittings is extraordinary given the possibility of a High Court case on the present Act.

He cannot seriously suggest that the High Court could hear and determine such an issue before 30 June!

Yet to proceed with the amendments while the status of the present law was being determined would be quite ridiculous.

Senator Cook is either playing a double game or preparing the way for a monumental capitulation on the whole issue.

Contrary to Senator Cook's fervent wish the Gyles Royal Commission findings have a great deal to do with the Government's proposals on independent contractors.

Roger Gyles QC has exposed the thuggery, destructive behaviour and financial ruin which is rife in the commercial building industry. Cook's old union, the BWIU, is a prime culprit for this disgraceful state of affairs.

Yet incredibly enough the Minister wants to foist the discredited industrial relations practices of the commercial building industry on to the home building industry.

CANBERRA 28 May 1992