Employer body backs 'full referral' of State IR powers

News

Employer body backs 'full referral' of State IR powers

A leading employers' organisation has supported State Governments referring all their IR powers to the Commonwealth in a submission to a NSW inquiry into 'Options for a New Industrial Relations System', but calls the inquiry the 'wrong one at the wrong time'.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

A leading employers' organisation has supported State Governments referring all their IR powers to the Commonwealth in a submission to a NSW inquiry into 'Options for a New Industrial Relations System', but calls the inquiry the 'wrong one at the wrong time'.

Australian Business Industrial (ABI), the industrial relations arm of the NSW Business Chamber, said in its submission to the inquiry  that it regarded it as part of the 'electioneering process'.

The inquiry was set up by the NSW State Government and is headed by constitutional law academic/lawyer, Professor George Williams.

ABI points out in its submission that the discussion paper for the inquiry was available for comment for less than four weeks, submissions were due on 12 October, and the report is scheduled for the end of October.

It also points out that the inquiry is taking place 'in the lead up to a vigorously contested Federal election' in which IR is a major issue.

Electioneering process

'It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the inquiry is itself part of the electioneering process, rather than a serious attempt to deal with what are important and difficult issues,' it says.

ABI concedes that the current Federal IR legislation is 'long and complicated', but this was partly because it is 'transitional legislation'.

The submission warns that if each of the States and Territories came to the table with their own agendas 'the likelihood of a simple, functioning, uniform national system would be seriously diminished'.

ABI supports the first option in the Inquiry's discussion paper, which is for full referral of the State's IR powers.

'The question of the extent of State powers to shape the full system is complicated,' the submission says.

'Hostile' federal activity

'It is clear that the extent to which Australia has moved towards a single national system - albeit incompletely - is the product of "hostile" federal activity. The inquiry is the product of the present situation, which itself has a long history starting well before 2004, and the fact that a changed Federal Government would not unscramble the egg.

'However, prior to 2004, the States showed little interest in addressing the question of a national industrial system.

'ABI believes that national interests, including the interests of employers and employees in NSW, are best served by a single national industrial relations system.

Dysfunctional

'This also means that the Federal Government needs to accept the responsibility, including the electoral responsibility, of its operation. Nonetheless, it is undeniably dysfunctional to have States campaigning against a Federal Government, almost as a matter of course, about industrial relations.

'ABI can see value in a continuing and significant role for the Council of Ministers to monitor, research and discuss industrial regulation and possible changes, perhaps with an independent secretariat down the road, but would not want this body to develop into a large unwieldy bureaucracy.'

Related

NSW looking at new 'harmonised' national IR system
 

 

Post details