Fair Work Act
A pattern is emerging in the building and construction industry – a pattern of battles not between capital and labour but between labour and labour. More specifically, union versus non-union.
In what looked like escalating into a Grocon Mark II dispute, unionists blockaded the Little Creatures brewery in South Geelong on and off for more than a month until last week in breach of a Supreme Court injunction.
Unionists from the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) have been in dispute with Western Australian contracting firm TFG Group over the use of non-union contract workers at the Little Creatures brewery.
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Badminton is not the only game where the putative contestants might indulge in a spot of tanking - throwing a match - in pursuit of a longer-term goal.
Sports fans are reeling after eight Olympic badminton players were disqualified for trying to lose early-round matches in London. Apparently, they wanted to avoid coming up against certain opponents later in the draw.
On the same day as the “bad-blood in badminton’’ story surfaced, we were reminded of our own version of the dark art of tanking: the Coalition’s pseudo-opposition or soft-shoe shuffle on industrial relations reform.
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I sometimes think there are two kinds of politics in Australia. The stuff that gets reported, and the stuff that actually affects people’s lives.
The 24-hour news cycle has created constant demand for new content, no matter how trivial. Much of the demand has been fuelled by punditry, pontificating and poll-analysis, rather than actual news.
While the political journos are obsessed with the state of Craig Thomson’s stomach, Peter Costello’s Future Fund dummy spit, and Wayne Swan’s Three Stooges jokes, you could be forgiven for thinking that is all Parliament ever does. Conflict, not matter how confected, is the fuel that drives media coverage.
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Australia is a great place to live. Our economy is strong, unemployment is low, companies are making good profits and real incomes are rising, as is our living standard.
The Fair Work Act is an important building block of that strength.
The facts show us that our workplace relations system is producing lower levels of industrial disputes, increasing profits and fostering agreement making while providing a workable safety net.
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Let’s add some truth to the debate on the Fair Work Act: Here are the facts on labour market productivity, lost time from industrial disputes, real wage growth and profits from Australian corporations.
This year will be a big year for the Government and for Australia. One of our challenges will be the review of our Fair Work Act. This will be an examination of whether the Act is operating as intended and whether the legislation could be improved in order to achieve its objective.
The Opposition will no doubt be using this opportunity to soften the ground for a return to WorkChoices. The Liberal backbench are falling over each other to force Tony Abbott to move closer to the policy of the Howard government. The sensible question that people should be asking in this debate is – what makes an effective modern workplace relations system?
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