Supporting the independent education community

Ensuring Integrity: Federal government’s union-busting legislation rejected by senate

After months of intense campaigning by union members across the country Labor, Greens, One Nation and Jacqui Lambie voted against the Ensuring Integrity Bill meaning the Morrison government and Centre Alliance could not pass it into law.

 

The vote was tied 34-34, with tied votes lost in the Senate.

The Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring IntegrityBill 2019, is a range of proposed amendments to the Fair Work Act, otherwise known as the Ensuring Integrity Bill.

 

The general effect of the proposed amendments would have been to provide more opportunity for government and employers to interfere with union leadership, organisation, decision making and activity – up to and including taking over or banning unions entirely.

 

It would do this by extending the circumstances under which Federal Court actions can be taken to…

Remove union officials, leaders or delegates from their posts (Schedule 1)

Deregister union organisations, thus prohibiting their continued operation entirely (Schedule 2)

Place union organisations under court administration, disabling their normal governance structures (Schedule 3)

Prevent amalgamations by union organisations (Schedule 4)

 

The new laws could have been used to dismiss union leaders (including democratically elected leaders) and ban unions on the basis of activities (like peaceful industrial action) that would be considered normal and legitimate in most industrial countries.

 

When Union activities that would be considered both normal and legitimate in most countries are prohibited (including things like organising strikes, encouraging workers to join, collecting dues, protesting, opposing employer measures deemed unfair, displaying union symbols and flags, and so on), a perverse and self fulfilling dynamic is set in motion.

 

By defining normal union activity as criminal, unions automatically become criminal organisations, thus seemingly justifying still further intrusions, restrictions and penalties.

 

No credible argument has been made that existing legal remedies (through both industrial laws and the courts) for genuine misconduct are somehow inadequate.

 

The union movement will continue to fight against any and all repressive, anti-worker legislation.

 

Here is a statement from ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus.

 

Never underestimate workers in Australia

 

This afternoon the Morrison government anti-worker, anti-union attack was busted in the senate.

 

After months of intense campaigning by union members across the country Labor, Greens, One Nation and Jacqui Lambie voted against the Ensuring Integrity Bill meaning the Morrison government and Centre Alliance could not pass it into law.

 

Members from unions all over the country campaigned to stop this law.

 

Workers from all walks of life made the case to the Senate cross bench about why the bill was bad for workers, jobs, wages and Australia.

 

Congratulations on your hard work.

 

Without your efforts and the efforts of hundreds of thousands of working people across Australia a law designed to hurt the rights of working people would now be law.

 

Working people have stood up against an attack on democratic rights and won.

 

This campaign has shown that union members work in all parts of Australia, doing all kinds of jobs and are all kinds of people. Union members stand up for secure work, fair pay and decent treatment both in our workplaces and our communities.

 

We do not give up.