Panic will roll Federal Court on transmission of business: Catanzariti

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Panic will roll Federal Court on transmission of business: Catanzariti

A discussion paper on transmission of business released last month by federal Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith points to an ‘almost inevitable’ rolling of the Federal Court, according to a leading labour lawyer.

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A discussion paper on transmission of business released last month by federal Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith points to an ‘almost inevitable’ rolling of the Federal Court, according to a leading labour lawyer.

 

Joe Catanzariti, partner with Clayton Utz (but speaking in a private capacity), told the Victorian Industrial Relations Society in Melbourne on the weekend not to bother reading the paper (see previous story).

It outlined a number of possible options based on existing approaches, but also raised the possibility of a new test in defining transmission of business.

In the discussion paper, Mr Reith criticised recent Federal Court decisions interpreting transmission of business broadly, to include work activities, particularly a case that is under appeal in the High Court, FSU of Australia v PP Consultants Pty Ltd, 1999, FCA 1251.

‘You don’t need to read it. It shows panic, it suggests the High Court is going to get PP wrong,’ he said. ‘It seems almost inevitable the Federal Court will be rolled.’

Catanzariti told the conference the new test would be a ‘middle ground’ decision, ‘getting more and more legalistic and away from practicalities and pragmatic solutions’.

In line with the theme of the weekend conference, Catanzariti also told delegates that despite the spotlight put on individual work agreements over the past few years, collectivism was here to stay.

He said while politicians highlighted a swing to individualism, ‘that’s all rubbish’.

He said he had never done more collective work, and that industrial practitioners had only to look at ‘the large players’, and the agreements they had in place, to see that individualism was not taking over.

Speaking about a forum to be held next month to discuss a move to one IR system throughout Australia, Catanzariti said the topic was ‘old news’, and that three years ago he had predicted in a speech that ‘it’s not going to happen’.

‘It’s not going to happen because we live in a real world, where there’s a move back to collectivism, and because there’s also a real High Court,’ he said.

 

 

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