Australia politics live: Tony Burke introduces industrial relations bill for ‘secure jobs and better pay’; Peter Dutton to give budget reply | Australia news

Tony Burke calls on parliament to legislate IR bill for ‘secure jobs and better pay’

Tony Burke commends the bill to the house:

This bill delivers on the government’s commitment to ensure a fairer workplace relations system that provides Australians with job security, gender equity and sustainable wage growth.

This bill will not fix every problem in our workplace relations system, but it’s a strong start, and it will provide a strong foundation on which we can continue to build a fairer and more equitable system Australians need, want and deserve.

Now there will be requests for us to move more slowly, to wait extra months to pretend that there is no urgency as this bill proceeds through the House and in the other place.

I asked members and senators to remember how long people have already waited – they have waited a decade, while wages were kept deliberately low.

Waited generations while the gender pay gap refused to close, waited while children became adults, while caring responsibilities collided with rosters, waited in insecure work for the secure job, which still hasn’t arrived.

These Australians have waited long enough. And while waiting, they have turned up every day and done their job.

It’s now time we did ours and legislated for secure jobs and better pay.

I commend the build the house.

Tony Burke introduces the bill to parliament on Thursday.
Tony Burke introduces the bill to parliament on Thursday. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Key events

Filters BETA

While the 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave for workers (to start from next year) is a good start, it is also worth remembering people living in poverty are particularly vulnerable.

Last week was anti-poverty week. The Anti-Poverty Week website resources include these facts:

New research from the Life Course Centre found young Australian women (aged 21-28 years) in financial hardship are more than 3 times as likely to report being the victim of past-year severe partner abuse: 9.3% compared with 2.9% for those not experiencing financial hardship.

The rates were also around double for any partner abuse or unwanted sexual activity.

Rates of violence are higher for groups that face multiple forms of discrimination, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women with disability, older women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including women on temporary visas, and those in the LGBTIQA+ community.

Women from refugee backgrounds are particularly at risk of financial abuse and reproductive coercion. …and poverty can deter women from leaving Australian Women Against Violence Alliance have estimated that. on average, it costs $18,000 for a victim/survivor to leave a violent relationship and establish safety.

This includes costs associated with reallocation, safety upgrades and legal and medical costs

Jury discharged in Bruce Lehrmann trial after ‘material entered jury room that ought not to have’

Breaking into the political news to update you on the Bruce Lehrmann trial.

Chris Knaus reports:

The entire jury in the trial of Bruce Lehrmann has been discharged after a juror was found to have conducted their own research and brought outside material into the jury room.

The ACT supreme court convened on Thursday morning and heard that a juror had conducted research outside the courtroom, contrary to their oath.

Chief justice Lucy McCallum said she had no choice but to discharge one of the 12 jurors. She said that meant she had to discharge them all.

Paul Karp is looking through the IR legislation and has found where the conflict will be:

This is going to be one of the biggest shit-fights on multi-employer bargaining: the “supported stream” (low paid workers etc) allows unions to apply to add employers “without consent” pic.twitter.com/sbfBTQhFLH

— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) October 26, 2022

Peter Hannam

Peter Hannam

Power prices on the agenda when energy ministers meet on Friday

Not the biggest surprise, but energy affordability – along with supply and reliability – will head the agenda for the federal, state and territory energy ministers when they gather in Melbourne on Friday.

Chris Bowen, the federal minister for climate change and energy, told Guardian Australia that work on the National Energy Transformation Partnership aimed at supporting “the smooth transformation of Australia’s energy sector” will also be on the agenda.

There’s no mention of the provision of rebates for energy as proposed by NSW’s Matt Kean, who will be only one of two Liberals in the room. (Guy Barnett should be the other. Along with premier of Tasmania, he has a few hats, including water and veteran affairs…so he must be taking part in federal gatherings every other week.)

Bowen’s line is that: “We are now building on this reform program with all jurisdictions to deliver much needed long-term certainty to industry and investors to put downward pressure on prices and ensure reliability of the system.”

That pressure is not yet having the desired effect, it should be said. Anyway, as for the size of the power prices rises in the budget, Bowen makes it clear that the first installment of those 20% and 30% has already taken effect. (The budget wasn’t clear.)

“The Budget shows that treasury has assumed retail electricity prices have already increased by an average of 20% nationally in 2022-23,” he said. “This largely reflects increases that took effect in the September quarter, including the increase to the Default Market Offer that the former government hid before the election.”

If you want to more about that hiding, here’s our story back in May:

Labor’s industrial relations bill: what is it and why is it being introduced?

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

The workplace relations minister, Tony Burke, has introduced Labor’s wide-ranging industrial relations bill which improves access to flexible work and removes hurdles to multi-employer bargaining.

Burke told the House of Representatives that Australia’s workplace laws “are not up to date”, warning the opposition that, given the cost of living crisis is the gap between incomes and rising prices, they “can’t claim to care about cost of living if [they] support continued wage stagnation”.

Burke said that adding gender equity as an object of the Fair Work Act would help close the “unacceptable” gender pay gap of 14.1%, while the bill would remove “insurmountable hurdles” to getting equal pay orders, such as childcare workers who lost a case because they couldn’t fulfil the “impossible task” of finding a male comparator group.

Burke said:

These reforms are intended to reverse decades of unfair outcomes for women. It will no longer be necessary to establish sex discrimination to prove work has been undervalued.”

The bill also contains an “express prohibition” against workplace sexual harassment, and bolsters existing anti-discrimination protections.

The Govt’s Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022 introduced this morning seeks to add breastfeeding, gender identity & intersex status as protected attributes for purposes of adverse action & unlawful termination. #auslaw 1/https://t.co/N1pUuhic6v

— Alastair Lawrie (@alawriedejesus) October 26, 2022

With curbs on rolling fixed term contracts, the bill will help employees experiencing the “permanent probation period”, he said.

The bill’s most controversial changes are to make multi-employer bargaining significantly easier to access, but Burke presented them as incremental changes to existing streams of bargaining.

Burke said under existing single-interest bargaining, parties need to get his permission to bargain together, a form of red tape that will be removed.

Employers must have clearly identifiable common interests and FWC must be satisfied it is in the public interest,” he said, suggesting the reform will help businesses compete on innovation and service not “who can pay the lowest wage”.

Burke also noted consultation is ongoing and didn’t rule out further amendments to better implement safeguards which include guaranteeing that single-employer agreements are still available, and that multi-employer deals are “not extended to those industries where it is not appropriate or not necessary such as commercial construction”.

Burke said the bill will give the Fair Work Commission power to resolve “intractable disputes through arbitration” where there is “no prospect” of agreement. This will encourage good faith bargaining and quick resolution of disputes.

Agreements signed under the Coalition’s WorkChoices laws will be sunsetted, businesses need to pay minimum entitlements in awards, to benefit workers and level the playing field”, he said.

Changes to the better off overall test will mean the commission uses “actual workers and patterns of work that are foreseeable” to judge a pay deal, taking a “global rather than line by line” approach. If employers and employees agree a pay deal passes the test, the commission will give “primary consideration” to their view. If circumstances change, a pay deal can be reassessed. “This makes sure that no worker will be worse off,” Burke said.

And on wages …

There is an event around the woman’s budget statement a little later this morning.

Anthony Albanese will deliver a speech at about 10.30am.

Big shake up, small turnout in the House as IR bill is introduced

Mike Bowers was in the chamber to capture the introduction of legislation for the biggest IR shake up in more than a decade – but most of the opposition was not.

Tony Burke speaks to the House.
Tony Burke speaks to the House. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
The chamber
The half-empty chamber. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Tony Burke calls on parliament to legislate IR bill for ‘secure jobs and better pay’

Tony Burke commends the bill to the house:

This bill delivers on the government’s commitment to ensure a fairer workplace relations system that provides Australians with job security, gender equity and sustainable wage growth.

This bill will not fix every problem in our workplace relations system, but it’s a strong start, and it will provide a strong foundation on which we can continue to build a fairer and more equitable system Australians need, want and deserve.

Now there will be requests for us to move more slowly, to wait extra months to pretend that there is no urgency as this bill proceeds through the House and in the other place.

I asked members and senators to remember how long people have already waited – they have waited a decade, while wages were kept deliberately low.

Waited generations while the gender pay gap refused to close, waited while children became adults, while caring responsibilities collided with rosters, waited in insecure work for the secure job, which still hasn’t arrived.

These Australians have waited long enough. And while waiting, they have turned up every day and done their job.

It’s now time we did ours and legislated for secure jobs and better pay.

I commend the build the house.

Tony Burke introduces the bill to parliament on Thursday.
Tony Burke introduces the bill to parliament on Thursday. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Tony Burke says the IR legislation will abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

This isn’t new – it was one of Labor’s stated aims since it was introduced.

But this line of his speech still gets applause from the government side of the chamber.

This bill will abolish the ABCC and the Registered Organisations Commission.

The Fair Work Ombudsman will have carriage of all industries.

Family violence leave also applies to casuals, Tony Burke says

Family and domestic violence paid leave should be in place at most workplaces from 1 February next year, for most employees.

Small businesses get an extra six months to adjust to the new workplace entitlement, so it will be August 2023 for those workers.

Tony Burke says it also applies to casuals:

Family and domestic violence leave has to be a universal entitlement.

Women can be victims of domestic violence no matter what job they work, how long they’ve been in that job, what sort of agreement they’re on or how many hours a week they work.

In fact, women who are experiencing family and domestic violence are more likely to be employed in casual and insecure work. We can’t leave them behind.

Violence doesn’t discriminate – and neither should the law.




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