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Workplace Relations Amendment (Genuine Bargaining) Bill 2002

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2002

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

Workplace Relations AMENDMENT

(Genuine Bargaining) Bill 2002

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

(Amendments to be moved on behalf of the Government)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Employment and

Workplace Relations, the Honourable Tony Abbott MP)



Workplace Relations AMENDMENT (Genuine Bargaining) Bill 2002

 

(Amendments to be moved on behalf of the Government)

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The Government is proposing minor amendments to Schedule 1 of the Bill. 

 

Amendments to Schedule 1

 

The amendments to Schedule 1 relate to section 170MW of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 , under which the Commission may make orders terminating or suspending bargaining periods.  The proposed amendments will have the following effects.

 

·          Applicant will be able to apply under section 170MW for suspension or termination of any or all bargaining periods applying to a specified business, or part or parts of a business, without having to identify the bargaining periods.

 

·          It will be a responsibility of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to satisfy itself as to which bargaining periods are relevant for a particular application.

 

·          Where the Commission suspends a bargaining period, the Commission will be able to declare that a specified negotiating party or employee of the employer is not allowed to initiate a new bargaining period in relation to specified matters that are dealt with by the proposed agreement following a suspension of a bargaining period.  The declaration will have effect for no longer than the length of the suspension.  The declaration may also provide that a bargaining period may be initiated subject to conditions.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The proposed amendments will not have any impact on the Commonwealth Budget.



NOTES ON AMENDMENTS

 

Amendment No. 1 - Schedule 1, page 3 (before line 5), before item 1

 

Amendment No. 1 would insert a new item into Part 1 (Amendments) of Schedule 1 (Bargaining Periods) to the Bill.

 

New Item 1A - Subsection 170MI(1) (note)

 

This item would amend an existing note after subsection 170MI.  This is a consequential amendment related to Amendment No. 2.

 

Subsection 170MI(1) provides for initiation of bargaining periods.  The existing note mentions that the subsection operates subject to existing provisions which can restrict capacity to notify bargaining periods.  This new item would amend the note, so as to insert a reference to subsection 170MW(9A), proposed under Amendment No. 2, which would also potentially restrict capacity to notify bargaining periods. 

 

Amendment No. 2 - Schedule 1, page 3 (after line 34), after item 1

 

Amendment No. 2 would insert two additional items into Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Bill.

 

New Item 2A - After subsection 170MW(8)

 

Item 2A would insert two additional subsections into section 170MW of the Act, proposed subsections (8A) and (8B).

 

Proposed subsection (8A) would allow an applicant to apply under s.170MW for suspension or termination of any or all bargaining periods applying to a specified business, or part of a business, without having to identify the bargaining periods.  The application would have effect as if it were an application for a termination or suspension of a specific bargaining period or periods.

 

Proposed subsection (8B) would make it the responsibility of the Commission to satisfy itself as to which bargaining periods are relevant for a particular application.  That is, progression of applications for suspension or termination of bargaining periods would not depend on identification of bargaining periods by the applicant or any other party.  In practical terms, the Commission would fulfil its responsibility in this regard by utilising the services of the Australian Industrial Registry, which would identify bargaining periods relevant to a business through its information technology system.

 

New Item 2B - After subsection 170MW(9)

 

Item 2B would insert an additional subsection into section 170MW of the Act, proposed subsection 9A.

 

Proposed subsection 9A would allow the Commission to ban the initiation of further bargaining periods during a suspension under s.170MW or allow the initiation of further bargaining periods subject to conditions.   The declaration would have effect for no longer than the length of the suspension. 

 

The proposed subsection is set out in similar terms to existing subsection 170MW(10), but applies to suspensions rather than terminations.  Under s.170MW(10), the Commission may declare, when terminating a bargaining period, that a new bargaining period may not be initiated for a specified period.  Without such a power, parties could avoid the effect of a termination by notifying under a new bargaining period.  However, this power is not presently available when the Commission suspends a bargaining period.  The proposal to allow such declarations in the context of a suspension order would effectively close a loophole that could make suspension of a bargaining period ineffective.

 

Amendment No. 3 - Schedule 1, page 6 (before line 3), before item 3

 

Amendment No. 3 would insert a new item 3A into Part 2 (Application) of Schedule 1 to the Bill.

 

New Item 3A - Application of items 1A, 2A and 2B

 

Item 3A would be an application provision for the new items to be inserted by these amendments.  It would apply the amendments to bargaining periods that began before at or after the commencement of the amendments, except where proceedings have already been determined.