Federal Bills on the backburner till August

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Federal Bills on the backburner till August

One Federal Workplace Relations Bill may have got through the Senate before the end of the last parliamentary session, but numerous employment-related Bills remain at various stages of debate.

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One Federal Workplace Relations Bill may have got through the Senate before the end of the last parliamentary session, but numerous employment-related Bills remain at various stages of debate.

The Workplace Relations Amendment Emergency Services Bill 2003 successfully completed its passage in the last week of Federal Parliament, while discrimination, vocational training and other workplace Bills must wait for Federal Parliament to return in August.

The Emergency Services Bill passed both Houses of Federal Parliament without amendments. The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Tony Abbott, said the laws would be in place before the next summer fire season.

Federal Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Bill 2003

The House of Representatives passed the Federal Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Bill 2003 last week without amendments proposed by the Senate Inquiry.

However, the Bill can’t be debated in the Senate until Parliament resumes in August.

In May, a Senate Inquiry rejected the proposed requirement for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC) to seek the Federal Attorney-General’s approval to intervene in court proceedings. Other elements of the Bill were also disputed (see previous story).

Liberal Senators on the Senate Inquiry recommended the rejection of the proposed change to HREOC powers.

The Government will wait and see what the Senate does with the Bill.

Federal Sex Discrimination Amendment (Pregnancy and Work) Bill 2002

The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Pregnancy and Work) Bill 2002 is in the Senate and clarifies that:

  • discrimination against breast feeding women and women expressing breast milk is prohibited;
  • asking questions about pregnancy or potential pregnancy may not be asked during the recruitment; and
  • medical information collected from pregnant women may only be used for appropriate purposes, such as genuine OHS and not for discrimination.

For more detail see the Bill 

Federal Vocational Education and Training Funding Amendment Bill 2003

A Bill to amend vocational education and training funding was introduced into the House of Representatives last week.

The Vocational Education and Training Funding Amendment Bill 2003 seeks to increase the general vocational education and training funding limit for 2003 by $24,432,000 and to appropriate a funding limit of $1,136,822,000 for 2004.

It also seeks to provide an additional $104,025,000 in 2004 for new training places.

For more information see the Bill.

Federal Age Discrimination Bill 2003

Proposed Federal Age Discrimination Bill 2003 that homes in on employment, and other aspects of life, was introduced into Federal Parliament last week.

This is the first time that separate age discrimination laws have been introduced in Federal Parliament.

Currently, each of the States and Territories cover age discrimination legislation, and age is a prohibited ground for discrimination under HREOC legislation (see previous story).

Federal Workplace Relations Amendment (Fair Dismissal) Bill 2002 [No. 2]

The Bill has become a double dissolution trigger. 

It proposes:

  • preventing employees working for small business (less than 20 employees) from seeking compensation for a harsh, unjust or unreasonable termination of employment; and
  • allowing the AIRC to order that an unfair dismissal application made by a small business employee is invalid.

For more information see the Bill.

Federal Workplace Relations Amendment (Secret Ballots for Protected Action) Bill 2002 [No. 2]

The Bill has become a double dissolution trigger. 

It proposes that for industrial action to be protected it must be preceded by a secret ballot where it is agreed that the action should be taken.

For more information see the Bill

Other Federal Workplace Relations Bills

The following Bills are waiting further debate when Parliament resumes in August:

  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Award Simplification) Bill 2002;
  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Choice in Award Coverage) Bill 2002;
  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Compliance with Court and Tribunal Orders) Bill 2003;
  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Fair Termination) Bill 2002;
  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Improved Protection for Victorian Workers) Bill 2002;
  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Improved Remedies for Unprotected Action) Bill 2002;
  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Protecting the Low Paid) Bill 2003;
  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Simplifying Agreement-Making) Bill 2002
  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Termination of Employment) Bill 2002
  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Transmission of Business) Bill 2002

For further information on these Federal Workplace Relations Bills see a previous WorkplaceInfo story, the Parliament of Australia website and the Australian Workplace website.

 

 

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