2 August 2019

The Morrison government’s so-called Ensuring Integrity Bill, in reality just another union-busting exercise, has passed the lower house and will be considered by the Senate in October [$]. The parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, which has considered the bill three times, has reiterated its criticism. This Government-dominated committee (made up of five Coalition MPs, three Labor, and one Green) is concerned the proposed law does not really address integrity issues. The provisions are not targeted at serious wrongdoing: “possible grounds for cancelation could include two or more relevantly minor breaches of industrial laws”; “cancellation of registration is not stated in the proposed legislation to be a measure of last resort”; “proposed grounds for disqualification are extremely broad … including contraventions that are less serious in nature. This would include taking unprotected industrial action.” Instead, the bill places restrictions on unions because of “concerns that they could have too much bargaining or campaigning power against employers”. The committee concludes the law is “likely to be incompatible with the right to freedom of association.” Remember — this committee is dominated by Government MPs.