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AGAINST – Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022 - Consideration in Detail - Government amendment (30)

The majority voted in favour of disagreeing with an amendment introduced by Wentworth MP Allegra Spender (Independent), which means it failed. This would have amended government amendment (30).

What does this amendment do?

Ms Spender explained that:

The most concerning part about the government amendments is the provision giving unions veto power over enterprise agreements. This means that an unscrupulous individual can hold a business and its workforce to ransom, demanding concessions or private benefits that may not be in the interests of union members or other employees. The minister has argued that bad actors may seek to encourage workers to agree to something that is not in their interests. I accept that there are those bad actors. However, this veto power goes too far. It is unconscionable that any government would seek to provide a veto power of this nature, particularly to its financial backers.

My amendment negates the veto power by saying that employers must have written agreement from the union or provide reasonable opportunities for unions to communicate their concerns to employees. I believe that the employees should be well informed about any change to any agreement that comes to them, and I support that the union can provide an important perspective on that. However, it is fundamentally up to individuals to decide whether or not they get to vote on an agreement and whether an agreement is in their interests. If a union thinks it's a dud then let them say so, but let employees decide for themselves what is best for them.

Ms Spender's amendment

Amendment (30), item 506B, at the end of subsection 180A(2), add ", or must ensure bargaining representatives have a reasonable opportunity to communicate and reasons for not providing written agreement to employees".

Government Amendment (30)

30. While the FWC must give consideration to the views of the parties, and primary consideration to a common view in certain circumstances, the FWC [Fair Work Commission] remains required to undertake its own independent assessment in applying the BOOT [better off overall test] pursuant to section 193A.

Summary

Date and time: 10:01 AM on 2022-11-10
Allegra Spender's vote: No
Total number of "aye" votes: 78
Total number of "no" votes: 59
Total number of abstentions: 14
Related bill: Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022

Adapted from information made available by theyvoteforyou.org.au

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