No Senate vote, so ABCC will run into next year


No Senate vote, so ABCC will run into next year

ABCC, Senate, FWA, coercive powers, 2010


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The federal parliamentary year has ended without the Commonwealth Government putting its ABCC replacement legislation before the Senate.
This means the ABCC will remain in operation at least until the parliament reconvenes next February — and probably for much longer because both the Opposition and independent Senator Steve Fielding are vehemently opposed to the government’s planned changes.
The government was planning on replacing the ABCC with an inspectorate under FWA.
Sunset clause
The inspectorate would have had reduced fines for unlawful conduct in the construction industry, a sunset clause of five years on its coercive powers, and the ability for well-behaved sites to be exempted from those powers.
In the turmoil over the emissions trading legislation, which eventually was defeated, the government managed to get through its state IR powers referral Bill, but not even put its ABCC legislation up.
The Coalition has now taken credit for the ABCC being preserved for the time being.
Toothless tiger
‘The Coalition has saved the ABCC from Labor’s scrap heap, despite Labor’s commitment to replace the independent construction watchdog with a toothless tiger,’ said IR spokesman Michael Keenan.
‘The Coalition’s efforts to preserve the ABCC, and the protection it provides for workers in the building and construction industry, has forced a back down from Labor, and has kept the tough cop on the beat in Australia’s workplaces.’
‘We’ve already heard evidence from industry, employers and a report tabled in the Senate that have all reinforced the ABCC’s importance in keeping at bay the violence and intimidation that crippled the industry in the early 80s and 90s.’
Keenan said that while the ABCC appeared safe for now, the Coalition would continue to fight to preserve the independent watchdog in the future.
Temporary reprieve
‘This is only a temporary reprieve until Labor drags this legislation back before the Senate next year,’ he said.
‘However it is a victory for law and order in the construction sector and recognition of the importance of the role of the ABCC.’
‘This is about law and order, it’s about jobs, and it’s about productivity.’
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