Commission warns Hockey over Tristar 'circus' comment

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Commission warns Hockey over Tristar 'circus' comment

Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey has been rebuked by the NSW IRC for calling its Tristar hearings a 'circus' and warned he would be called to give evidence if necessary.

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Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey has been rebuked by the NSW IRC for calling its Tristar hearings a 'circus' and warned he would be called to give evidence if necessary.

The Commission Vice-President said in a prepared statement that Hockey's comments were inappropriate and improper.

'If any individual engages in any conduct that is contemptuous, the Commission will take appropriate action,' he warned.

Hockey got himself into trouble with the Commission by telling Channel 10's Meet the Press program it was behaving like a circus and 'can't make any decisions because it has no jurisdiction'.

Just an inquiry

'It is just conducting an inquiry,' he said.

The Tristar matter was referred to the Commission by NSW Industrial Relations Minister, John Della Bosca.

The allegation against the company is that it has kept more than 30 of its long-term employees on site with nothing to do while their redundancy agreement runs out, thus saving the company millions of dollars. The company claims there is work for the employees to do, but Hockey said in Parliament this week that it was the Government's view that there was no work.

The Office of Workplace Services (OWS) is currently running a case against Tristar, alleging constructive redundancy.

Six witnesses

Tristar has claimed that during discussions on the issue, Hockey urged them to sack the workforce, pay redundancy and rehire the workers on individual contracts.

Hockey has vehemently denied this, saying he has six witnesses to back him up, but has refused to appear before the Commission to give evidence.

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