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Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2019

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2019

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2019

 

 

(1)     Schedule 1, item 8, page 5 (line 23), omit “, or another country,”.

[prescribed offences]

(2)     Schedule 1, item 11, page 6 (lines 10 and 11), omit “, the Minister or another person with a sufficient interest”.

[standing]

(3)     Schedule 1, item 11, page 6 (lines 15 to 20), omit subsection 222(1), substitute:

             (1)  The Commissioner may apply to the Federal Court for an order under this section if the Commissioner considers that any of the grounds for disqualification set out in section 223 apply in relation to a person.

Note:          A person who reason ably believes that a ground applies may refer the matter to the Commissioner (see section 223A), but the Commissioner does not need a referral to make an application under this section.

[standing]

(4)     Schedule 1, item 11, page 6 (line 23), omit “the Court”.

[disqualification orders]

(5)     Schedule 1, item 11, page 6 (line 24), before “is satisfied”, insert “the Court”.

[disqualification orders]

(6)     Schedule 1, item 11, page 6 (line 26), omit “does not consider that it would be unjust”, substitute “the Commissioner satisfies the Court that it would not be unjust”.

[disqualification orders]

(7)     Schedule 1, item 11, page 6 (after line 31), after subsection 222(2), insert:

          (2A)  The Court must not make the order unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the gravity of the matters constituting the ground, disqualification would not be unjust.

[gravity of matters constituting ground]

(8)     Schedule 1, item 11, page 7 (line 4), omit subsection 222(4).

[standing]

(9)     Schedule 1, item 11, page 7 (lines 6 to 10), omit subsection 223(1), substitute:

Designated finding or contempt in relation to designated law

             (1)  A ground for disqualification applies in relation to a person if:

                     (a)  a designated finding within the meaning of paragraph 9C(1)(a) (criminal) is made against the person (other than a designated finding that relates to an offence covered by subsection (4)); or

                     (b)  both:

                              (i)  one or more designated findings within the meaning of paragraph 9C(1)(b) (civil) have been made against the person within the last 10 years (other than a designated finding that relates to a contravention covered by subsection (4)); and

                             (ii)  the maximum penalty, or combined total of the maximum penalties, for the contravention or contraventions to which the designated finding or findings relate is, or is equivalent to, at least 180 penalty unit s (see section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 for the value of a penalty unit); or

                     (c)  the person is found to be in contempt of court in relation to an order or injunction made under a designated law.

[grounds for disqualification]

(10)   Schedule 1, item 11, page 7 (lines 20 to 30), omit subsection 223(3), substitute:

Multiple failures to prevent contraventions etc. by organisation

             (3)  A ground for disqualification applies in relation to a person if:

                     (a)  more than one of the following is made against any organisation in relation to conduct engaged in while the person is an officer of the organisation:

                              (i)  a designated finding within the meaning of paragraph 9C(1)(a) (criminal);

                             (ii)  a designated finding within the meaning of paragraph 9C(1)(b) (civil);

                            (iii)  a finding that the organisation is in contempt of court in relation to an order or injunction made under a designated law; and

                     (b)  at least one of them is covered by subparagraph (a)(i) or (iii); and

                     (c)  the person failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the conduct.

[grounds for disqualification]

(11)   Schedule 1, item 11, page 7 (after line 30), after subsection 223(3), insert:

          (3A)  A ground for disqualification applies in relation to a person if:

                     (a)  2 or more designated findings within the meaning of paragraph 9C(1)(b) (civil) have been made against any organisation within the last 10 years in relation to conduct engaged in while the person is an officer of the organisation; and

                     (b)  the combined total of the maximum penalties for the contraventions to which the designated findings relate is, or is equivalent to, at least 900 penalty units (see section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 for the value of a penalty unit); and

                     (c)  the person failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the conduct.

[grounds for disqualification]

(12)   Schedule 1, item 11, page 8 (line 1), omit the heading to subsection 223(4), substitute:

Breach of directors’ and officers’ duties

[grounds for disqualification]

(13)   Schedule 1, item 11, page 8 (before line 3), before paragraph 223(4)(a), insert:

                    (aa)  a designated finding is made against the person and it relates to an offence against, or a contravention of, a provision of Division 2 of Part 2 of Chapter 9 (general duties in relation to the financial management of organisations); or

[grounds for disqualification]

(14)   Schedule 1, item 11, page 9 (after line 5), at the end of Division 3, add:

223A   Referral to Commissioner

             (1)  If a person (the referrer ) reasonably believes that a ground set out in section 223 applies in relation to a person, the referrer may refer the matter to the Commissioner.

             (2)  The referral must:

                     (a)  be in writi ng; and

                     (b)  identify and provide contact details for the referrer; and

                     (c)  set out the basis for the reasonable belief mentioned in subsection (1).

             (3)  The Commissioner may, but is not required to, take action in relation to the referral.

Note:          If the Commissioner considers that a ground set out in section 223 applies in relation to a person, the Commissioner may apply for an order under section 222 (disqualification orders).

[standing]

(15)   Schedule 1, item 14, page 11 (lines 11 and 12), omit “, Minister, or a person with a sufficient interest”.

[standing]

(16)   Schedule 1, item 17, page 12 (line 8), omit “223(1)(b)”, substitute “223(1)(c)”.

[grounds for disqualification]

(17)   Schedule 1, item 17, page 12 (line 14), omit “223(3)(a)(ii)”, substitute “223(3)(a)(iii)”.

[grounds for disqualification]

(18)   Schedule 1, item 17, page 12 (after line 17), after paragraph 17(2)(b), insert:

                   (ba)  for the ground mentioned in subsection 223(3A):

                              (i)  a designated finding made in relation to conduct engaged in after commencement; and

                             (ii)  a failure, after commencement, to take steps as mentioned in the subsection;

[grounds for disqualification]

(19)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 15 (line 7), omit “An applicant”, substitute “The Commissioner”.

[standing]

(20)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 15 (line 8), omit “an applicant”, substitute “the Commissioner”.

[standing]

(21)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 15 (lines 11 to 13), omit “only if the organisation satisfies the Court that cancellation would be unjust”, substitute “if the Commissioner fails to satisfy the Court that cancellation would not be unjust”.

[whether order is not unjust]

(22)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 15 (line 23) to page 16 (line 14), omit sections 28 to 28B, substitute:

28   Application for cancellation of registration

                   The Commissioner may apply to the Federal Court for an order cancelling the registration of an organisation, if the Commissioner considers that any one or more of the grounds in Division 3 exist in relation to the organisation.

Note:          A person who reasonably believes that a ground exists may refer the matter to the Commissioner (see section 28HA), but the Commissioner does not need a referral to make an application under this section.

28A   Application for alternative orders

                   The Commissioner may apply to the Federal Court for any one or more of the orders under Division 5 in relation to an organisation, if the Commissioner considers that any one or more of the grounds in Division 3 exist in relation to the organisation.

Note:          A person who reasonably believes that a ground exists may refer the matter to the Commissioner (see section 28HA), but the Commissioner does not need a referral to make an application under this section.

28B   Multiple applications

             (1)  Nothing in this Part prevents the Commissioner applying under section 28 for cancellation of registration and under section 28A for alternative orders in relation to the same organisation.

             (2)  If the Commissioner does so, the Court must deal with the applications together.

[standing]

(23)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 16 (lines 24 to 30), omit paragraph 28C(1)(b), substitute:

                     (b)  affairs of the organisation or a part of the organisation have been or are being conducted in a manner that is contrary to the interests of the members of the organisation or part as a whole; or

[cancellation relating to conduct of affairs of organisation]

(24)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 17 (line 30), after “units”, insert “(see section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 for the value of a penalty unit)”.

[grounds for cancellation]

(25)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 19 (after line 28), at the end of Division 3, add:

28HA   Referral to Commissioner

             (1)  If a person reasonably believes that a ground in this Division exists in relation to an organisation, the person may refer the matter to the Commissioner.

             (2)  The referral must:

                     (a)  be in writing; and

                     (b)  identify and provide contact details for the person making the referral; and

                     (c)  set out the basis for the reasonable belief mentioned in subsection (1).

             (3)  The Commissioner may, but is not required to, take action in relation to the referral.

Note:          If the Commissioner considers that a ground in this Division exists in relation to an organisation, the Commissioner may apply for orders under either or both Divisions 4 and 5 (cancellation of registration and alternative orders) in relation to the organisation.

[standing]

(26)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 20 (line 5), omit “must”, substitute “may”.

[discretion to make order cancelling registration]

(27)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 20 (lines 9 and 10), omit “organisation does not satisfy the Court that it would be unjust to cancel its”, substitute “Commissioner satisfies the Court that it would not be unjust to cancel the organisation’s”.

[whether order is not unjust]

(28)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 20 (lines 18 and 19), omit “organisation satisfies the Court that it would be unjust to cancel its”, substitute “Commissioner fails to satisfy the Court that it would not be unjust to cancel the organisation’s”.

[whether order is not unjust]

(29)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 20 (after line 22), after subsection 28J(1), insert:

          (1A)  The Court must not cancel an organisation’s registration unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the gravity of the matters constituting the ground, cancellation would not be unjust.

[gravity of matters constituting ground]

(30)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 21 (lines 11 and 12), omit “organisation satisfies the Court that it would be unjust”, substitute “Commissioner fails to satisfy the Court that it would not be unjust”.

[whether order is not unjust]

(31)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 21 (after line 12), after subsection 28L(1), insert:

          (1A)  The Court must not make an order under this Division unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the gravity of the matters constituting the ground, the order would not be unjust.

[gravity of matters constituting ground]

(32)   Schedule 2, item 4, page 22 (line 9), omit subsection 28M(3).

[standing]

(33)   Schedule 2, item 9, page 24 (lines 24 to 26), omit paragraphs 343(2)(a) to (c).

[standing]

(34)   Schedule 4, item 2, page 34 (lines 19 to 22), omit the paragraph beginning “Before an amalgamation can take effect”, substitute:

Before an amalgamation can take effect, the FWC must decide whether the amalgamation should be subject to a public interest test. The amalgamation does not take effect if the FWC decides that the public interest test is to apply to the amalgamation and that the amalgamation fails that test.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(35)   Schedule 4, item 6, page 35 (lines 13 to 15), omit subsection 67(4), substitute:

             (4)  Subsection (2) does not authorise the FWC to dispense with deciding under subsection 72A(1):

                     (a)  whether the test in paragraph 72A(1)(b) (the public interest test ) is to apply to a proposed amalgamation; or

                     (b)  if the public interest test is to apply to the proposed amalgamation—whether the amalgamation is in the public interest.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(36)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 35 (lines 19 to 27), omit section 72A, substitute:

72A   Decision whether the public interest test is to apply to the proposed amalgamation and, if so, whether the amalgamation passes that test

             (1)  Before fixing an amalgamation day under section 73 for a proposed amalgamation, the FWC must:

                     (a)  decide whether the test in paragraph (b) (the public interest test ) is to apply to the amalgamation; and

                     (b)  if the public interest test is to apply to the amalgamation—decide whether the amalgamation is in the public interest.

Note 1:       The FWC must have regard to the matters in section 72D in deciding whether the amalgamation passes the public interest test.

Note 2:       An amalgamation does not take effect if the FWC decides that the public interest test is to apply to the amalgamation and that the amalgamation fails that test (see section 72F).

             (2)  The FWC must, and may only, decide under paragraph (1)(a) that the public interest test is to apply to the amalgamation if there is information before the FWC that at least 20 compliance record events have occurred for at least one of the existing organisations concerned in the amalgamation within the 10 year period ending on the day the application, or the most recent application, under section 44 is lodged in relation to the amalgamation.

Note:          The FWC has ways of informing itself about whether events have occurred (see section 590 of the Fair Work Act).

             (3)  The FWC may make decisions under subsection (1) at any time after an application under section 44 is lodged with the FWC in relation to the amalgamation.

72AA   Writing and publication requirements for these FWC decisions

             (1)  The FWC’s decisions under subsection 72A(1) must be in writing.

             (2)  The FWC must give written reasons for any decision it makes under that subsection.

             (3)  Such a decision, and the reasons for it, must be expressed in plain English and be easy to understand in structure and content.

             (4)  The FWC must publish such a decision, and the reasons for it, on its website or by any other means that the FWC considers appropriate. The FWC must do so as soon as practicable after making the decision.

             (5)  Subsections (1) and (4) do not limit the FWC’s power to put decisions in writing or publish decisions.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(37)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 35 (line 29), omit “(1) The FWC must”, substitute “If the public interest test in paragraph 72A(1)(b) is to apply to a proposed amalgamation, the FWC must”.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(38)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 36 (lines 1 to 3), omit paragraph 72B(1)(a), substitute:

                     (a)  fix a time and place for hearing submissions in relation to:

                              (i)  the matters mentioned in subsection 72D(1) (record of compliance with the law); and

                             (ii)  whether the amalgamation is otherwise in the public interest; and

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(39)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 36 (lines 9 to 18), omit subsection 72B(2).

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(40)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 37 (lines 3 to 10), omit subsection 72C(2), substitute:

             (2)  The FWC must have regard to any submissions made.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(41)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 37 (line 13), after “deciding”, insert “under paragraph 72A(1)(b)”.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(42)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 37 (line 16), omit “and age”, substitute “, age and gravity”.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(43)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 37 (line 19), omit “section 72A”, substitute “paragraph 72A(1)(b)”.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(44)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 37 (line 23), after “deciding”, insert “under paragraph 72A(1)(b)”.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(45)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 38 (line 30), omit “section 72A”, substitute “paragraph 72A(1)(b)”.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(46)   Schedule 4, item 7, page 39 (line 2), omit “section 72A”, substitute “paragraph 72A(1)(b)”.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(47)   Schedule 4, item 9, page 39 (lines 11 and 12), omit “the FWC has decided under section 72A that the amalgamation is in the public interest”, substitute “after concluding its decisions under section 72A the FWC is not prevented by subsection 72F(1) from fixing an amalgamation day for the amalgamation,”.

[public interest test for amalgamations]

(48)   Page 42 (after line 22), at the end of the Bill, add:

Schedule 6 Functions of the Commissioner

   

Fair Work ( Registered Organisations) Act 2009

1  Section 329AB

Before “The Commissioner”, insert “(1)”.

2  At the end of section 329AB

Add:

             (2)  In carrying out the Commissioner’s function of promoting efficient management of organisations and high standards of accountability of organisations and their office holders to their members, the Commissioner must give priority to matters that raise serious or systemic concerns.

[functions of the Commissioner]