WA bill to abolish role of IRC president

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WA bill to abolish role of IRC president

A new bill proposes abolishing the role of president of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

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Legislation proposed by the McGowan government will see the role of Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) president disappear in WA. 

The Industrial Relations Amendment Bill 2018 amends the Industrial Relations Act 1979 to abolish the position of president of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission. 

According to the explanatory memorandum, it is intended to take effect when the current acting president, Hon Jennifer Smith’s appointment expires on 26 December 2018. 

“While the president has the status of a puisne judge and the position has traditionally been tenured, in 2005 the IR Act was amended to allow the appointment of an acting president.  Since that time the position of president has been filled on an acting basis,” states the explanatory memorandum. 

The bill provides that a full bench must consist of three commissioners, one of whom must be the chief commissioner or a senior commissioner. Any functions currently performed by the president and a full bench in relation to registered organisations will be transferred to the chief commissioner or Commission in Court Session. This includes registration of organisations of employee as well as dealing with complaints against organisations.

The president is currently required to consent to questions of law being referred to a full bench. It is proposed this responsibility will also be transferred to the chief commissioner.  The current chief commissioner is Pamela Scott. 
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