FWC posts 'rigged in favour of employers'

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FWC posts 'rigged in favour of employers'

The opposition and unions have blasted the Fair Work Commission's newest recruits, describing the appointment process as unfair and 'rigged in favour of employers'.

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Senator Michaelia Cash, the Minister for Employment, announced the appointment of three new deputy presidents to the Fair Work Commission late last week.

Abbey Beaumont starts on 14 August. She is currently the human resources and employee relations manager at Fortescue Metals Group in Perth. She was formerly a lawyer at law firm Blake Dawson in Perth.

Amber Millhouse starts on 24 September. Ms Millhouse is currently a specialist workplace relations lawyer at Seyfarth Shaw Australia in Melbourne and is an employment litigator.

Ian Masson starts on 31 July. He has years of experience as a workplace relations manager. He has held senior positions at the Australian Mines & Metals association, at Woodside Energy in Perth and most recently at ExxonMobil in Melbourne. He has worked on workplace relations strategies at large industrial/resource projects in Western Australia. 

“Ms Beaumont, Ms Millhouse and Mr Masson are highly qualified and well regarded in their respective professions. I am also particularly pleased that two high calibre women have been appointed to these positions. I am confident that all appointees will make valuable contributions to the work of the Fair Work Commission,” Minister Cash said.

Reaction from the opposition and trade unions was immediate and critical. 

'No balance, no fairness'


Brendan O’Connor MP, the Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, criticised the appointments as the continuation of a “hard line ideological push”. 

“Since the 2013 election of the Coalition government, two employment ministers have stacked the FWC with 14 appointments – all of whom have represented employers in one capacity or another and zero who have represented workers. There is no balance, no fairness and no effort to maintain the integrity of the Commission. This conservative anti-worker Liberal government has removed any pretence of impartiality from its Commission appointments,” Mr O’Connor said. 

ACTU secretary Sally McManus was also unhappy with the appointments, saying that “the three appointees have also acted for companies who have engaged in wage underpayment, cancelled agreements, reduced working conditions, and undermined the conditions Australians have at work.

"[The] announcement by Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Cash is further evidence that the game is rigged in favour of employers, and that workers need more power.”
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