September 10, 2017

A report on Corporate Avoidance of the Fair Work Act was handed down by a Senate Committee on 7 September and, needless to say, it painted a damning picture of a Coalition over-eager to give the green light to corporations wanting to trample workers’ rights.

The report found action is needed from Federal Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash to:


  • fix collective bargaining

  • stop wage theft

  • regulate use of labour hire

  • end sham contracting

  • stop exploitation of temporary visa workers, and

  • ensure workers have access to accurate pay records.


We should add to simply fix the broken system and ensure workers have adequate recourse against employers who do the wrong thing.

Following the release of the report, the ACTU pointed out that Cash has spent the last few years doing nothing to address systemic avoidance of the law by corporations and doing plenty to destroy the rights of Australian workers. The ACTU also said that it does not expect the Senate’s savage indictment to change her behaviour and can only assume that she simply does not care about what she is doing to working Australians.


Here’s a snapshot of what the Turnbull Government has been up to recently:

  • Slashed penalty rates for some of Australia’s lowest-paid workers

  • Declined to make a submission to increase the minimum wage

  • Created a disastrous internship scheme for young people which pays $4 per hour

  • Publically argued against a new leave entitlement for people experiencing family and domestic violence

  • Cheered on as employers tear up collective agreements and make jobs insecure to cut workers’ pay and conditions

  • Brought on a raft of anti-union legislation in an attempt to open workers up to even more exploitation, and

  • For reasons unknown, keeps tip-toeing around the common sense move of calling a Royal Commission into the banking sector.


TWU (Vic/Tas Branch) Secretary John Berger asked the question that, if Cash is overseeing a broken system that is hurting workers and is doing nothing to repair the situation, could she actually be negligent in her duty?

“Holding a seat in the Australian Senate means you represent all Australians, not just cashed-up corporate sector donors. A person can be a Senator or a lobbyist, not both. The Australian public deserve better from our elected officials and a Workplace Minister who serves only one side is not a functioning Minister,” John said.

“And, clearly, if the Portfolio is not functioning then it follows that the Government must be dysfunctional. Working Australians deserve a Government and Minister who will change the rules to restore fairness in the workplace and fight inequality.”

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