Workers give green light to changes reversing Newman Bleijie attack

Workers have given the green light to new state industrial relations laws which restore fairness to workers’ rights and representation.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said reversing the previous Newman Government IR legislation was a clear election commitment by the Palaszczuk government.

“This new Bill introduced into Parliament this week is a complete contrast to the Newman LNP Government’s legislation both in its substantive content and the process by which it was developed. 

“Rather than a piecemeal and dictatorial approach, it has involved a holistic and consultative review.  This new Bill restores balance and workability to the system that had been removed by the LNP,” she said.

The Bill sets out to:

  • reverse the mess that was left by the Newman Government that amended the legislation six times in their term of less than three years,
  • reinstate fairness into the state’s industrial relations system,
  • introduce initiatives such as making Easter Sunday a public holiday and legislating for domestic violence leave,
  • even up the requirements expected of employer associations and employee unions.

Queensland unions say the new industrial relations laws will also simplify compliance and align reporting obligations with those required at a federal level.

“It ensures that unions continue to maintain the high standard of accountability required,” Ms McLennan said.

“It is ironic that the Newman Government that promoted itself as cutting red tape did nothing but introduce it in abundance during its term in office,” she said.

Legislation it introduced was clearly unconstitutional, reflected in the Newman Government in 2014 withdrawing its case on union campaigning laws before it faced a humiliating rejection in the High Court.

“The Newman legislation was patently aimed at obstructing and hampering unions in representing their members – working Queenslanders - and their families,” said Ms McLennan.

The election funding disclosure provisions are already covered under separate electoral legislation, and unions are covered by the same laws as other organisations.

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