Coalition opposes IR referral Bill because states ‘unfit’ for it

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Coalition opposes IR referral Bill because states ‘unfit’ for it

The Federal Opposition says the legislation to facilitate the states referring their industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth should not go ahead because it gives power to the states that they are unfit to handle.

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The Federal Opposition says the legislation to facilitate the states referring their industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth should not go ahead because it gives power to the states that they are unfit to handle.
 
Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations Michael Keenan said the push by the Rudd Government to effectively give control over future federal workplace laws to the states is ‘irresponsible and reckless policy’.
 
ACCI last week also called for the legislation not to go ahead because of an intergovernmental agreement that the Fair Work Act 2009 could not be amended unless this was approved by two-thirds of the states.
 
Small business exposed
 
Keenan said the Coalition supported a national system of workplace relations, but not at the price of thousands of small businesses who will be exposed to Labor’s ‘bungled award modernisation process’.
 
‘The Coalition wants a national system; however we must make sure that the Federal system gets it right, before getting the States on board,’ Keenan said.
 
‘The so-called award modernisation process, for example, has been a bungled mess from day one.’
 
‘Why expose workplaces, particularly small workplaces, to a system that isn’t working and will disadvantage workers and employers? Let’s get the Fair Work laws right first.’
 
Responsibility
 
Keenan said Labor’s proposed federal system included handing control to State Governments which, as a majority, are unfit to handle such a responsibility.
 
‘Why would you want to give States, with a track record such as that of NSW for example, the power to control what happens to workers in Tasmania?’ he said.
 
ACCI chief executive Heather Ridout said last week the legislation should not proceed because it puts too much power in the hands of the states.
 
Significant power
 
‘The Bill appears to take significant power away from the Federal Government and give it to the states not just in respect of laws applying to sole traders, partnerships and other non-corporate employers but for all employers,’ Ridout said.
 
‘Such a power shift could end up being a major problem for business if problems arise with the legislation and vital amendments cannot be made.’
 
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