After months of uncertainty and threats by the Government on election timing, Senator for Western Australia Zhenya ‘Dio’ Wang says Australians will welcome decisive action taken by the Government today to finally bring on its proposed industrial relations legislation.
“Australians don’t want chaos and dysfunction from Government – what they need is certainty, and finally they have it with today’s confirmation by the Prime Minister that the Government’s industrial relations agenda will be considered in extra Parliamentary sittings before the Budget,” said Senator Wang.
“Since the TURC report was handed down at Christmas, we have been working with the Government on amendments to strengthen the ABCC Bill and – after a hiatus in their responsiveness in recent weeks during their restructure of the Senate – we can now look forward to these improvements being finalised by the legislative drafters for pending circulation to the Crossbench, the Liberal-National-Greens-Xenophon Coalition, and the Opposition.”
Senator Wang said the amendments he had been negotiating with the Prime Minister’s office to improve the ABCC Bill were designed to balance accountability provisions for unions and workers with corporate and employer accountability – for instance, to penalise corporates engaging in sham contracting activity and wages exploitation – as well as to provide checks and balances for the use of coercive powers.
“Separately, we have established a Parliamentary Inquiry into the establishment of federal anti-corruption commission to address some of the broader issues identified in the TURC report, and to depolarise the ABCC and ensure it delivers on the recommendations of TURC,” he said.
“The Senate inquiry into the establishment of a National Integrity Commission – with the power to scrutinise everyone from blue and white-collar workers and employers right up to politicians and party donors, and through to organisations from banks to bureaucracies to political parties – is vital to consider the additional material and issues about the wider issue of systemic corruption raised in the TURC report. It is vitally important this long-overdue inquiry into the establishment of a National Integrity Agency is continued with bipartisan support – no matter what the election outcome.”
Senator Wang said that given the Prime Minister’s announcement today, he hoped his amendments to the ABCC Bill could be circulated this week.