NSW to challenge IR laws as ‘unfair and unconstitutional’

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NSW to challenge IR laws as ‘unfair and unconstitutional’

The NSW Government will challenge the Federal Government’s WorkChoices legislation in the High Court of Australia, arguing the laws are ‘unfair and unconstitutional’.

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The NSW Government will challenge the Federal Government’s WorkChoices legislation in the High Court of Australia, arguing the laws are ‘unfair and unconstitutional’.

WorkChoices sets up a national IR system by using the Federal Government’s corporations powers to take over the States industrial relations system.

Only those employees in the State systems working for unincorporated bodies will remain in these systems – this is expected to be about 15% of the workforce.

Under the WorkChoices legislation penalty rates, public holidays, shift loadings and a range of other benefits will be able to be bargained away in workplace or individual agreements.

NSW argument

NSW Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca said the Australian Constitution contains an explicit power concerning the regulation of industrial relations.

‘That power makes it clear that industrial relations is an area in which the powers of the Commonwealth and the States are to be shared,’ he said.

‘Section 51 of the Constitution allows the Federal Government to make laws to deal with disputes that cross state borders, whilst the State governments have the power to make laws that deal with intra-state disputes.’

All corporations move to federal jurisdiction

Della Bosca said these roles of the Federal Government and the State governments in regulating industrial relations have been established for over 100 years, but the Howard Government is now challenging them through its new industrial relations laws.

‘By using the corporations power, all constitutional corporations will compulsorily move into the federal system even if they currently operate in the state system,’ he said. ‘In addition, any state industrial laws will cease to apply to constitutional corporations.

‘In short, this means that the Federal Government is launching a hostile takeover of the industrial relations powers of the states. This is an inappropriate use of constitutional powers by the Howard Government.’

Della Bosca said advertisements to raise awareness about the impact of the Federal Government’s laws can now be heard on metropolitan and regional radio throughout NSW.

The advertisements can also be listened to on: www.fairgo.nsw.gov.au

Related

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