The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) congratulates Michaelia Cash on retaining the employment portfolio but warns against pursuing the Abbott/Turnbull governments’ industrial relations agenda.

The ACTU will be constantly reminding working people that the Turnbull Government has no mandate for major and adverse industrial relations changes.  

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Employment Minister Cash failed to provide a policy for industrial relations in the recent election campaign and cannot claim a mandate now.

Not only did the Coalition refuse to release a formal response to the Productivity Commission’s report on workplace relations, but the only significant reference to industrial relations across the entire eight-week campaign was buried within a speech Minister Cash gave at the National Press Club on 17 June. 

The government’s plan now will be to rush in the return of the debunked Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and the Registered Organisations Bill — a convoluted piece of legislation designed to penalise workers for taking part in union activities in order to achieve better working conditions.

The ACTU was also disappointed that the small business portfolio was downgraded from the front bench and moved to the outer ministry, making it clear the government’s only priority is boosting the coffers of multi-national corporations. 

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

“Minister Cash has her work cut out for her as the returning employment minister — she has no mandate for industrial relations changes and Australian Unions will be on watch to ensure working people are not disadvantaged when Parliament resumes in late August.”

“We now expect the Prime Minister to attempt to rush through the ABCC and Registered Organisations bills to hurt working Australians who choose to be members of unions and build themselves a better future.” 

“The ACTU will work with cross benchers in the Senate to ensure they understand these bills are dangerous and deeply unfair to working Australians.” 

“The government’s only industrial relations agenda for the past three years has been pro big business, but Australians want the new government to stop the same old anti-worker rhetoric and partner with unions to create jobs, champion education and training, and turn around the disturbing levels of youth unemployment.”

“It is small businesspeople who, like workers, rely on good government policy to achieve success. Big corporations on the other hand generally can look after themselves. Relegating small business to the outer ministry shows Malcolm Turnbull is turning his back on small business, as he is doing for workers.”


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