IR Bill shenanigans in WA

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IR Bill shenanigans in WA

The Gallop Government's IR Bill passed its second reading in the Upper House this week without a single Liberal in the chamber to vote against it – but the move may now mean trouble for the Government further down the line.

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The Gallop Government's IR Bill passed its second reading in the Upper House this week without a single Liberal in the chamber to vote against it – but the move may now mean trouble for the Government further down the line.

The Bill was passed on Tuesday night when the only Liberal in the chamber was the Acting Speaker, thus unable to vote. Although it is believed it would have passed anyway, the presence of the other 12 Liberal members could have tied up debate for some weeks. 

The Government has rejected claims from the Liberals that it had changed the agreed arrangement of speakers and also denied that its members distracted Paddy Embry, the One Nation Upper House member, to allow the Bill to pass the second reading stage.

Government Leader in the Upper House Kim Chance is defending his decision to push on with the Bill when the Liberals were absent, saying he could not pass up the opportunity to progress the Bill.

Opposition Leader Colin Barnett admitted the Party had 'slipped up' and Opposition Leader in the House Norman Moore said he was 'very embarrassed indeed and it won't happen again'. 

Not only embarrassed, but infuriated, the Liberals are now saying they will abandon the 'pairs' convention, by which if a member of one party is unable to attend sittings for some reason their 'pair' in the opposite party will also absent themselves, to balance out the votes.

This will now force Government members to be present for the rest of the Bill's discussion. 

The Labour Relations Reform Bill 2002 moves to the committee stage now for debate, and will not become law until it is read for a third time. The five Greens in the Upper House who hold the balance of power are pushing for amendments to the Bill.

 

 
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