Senate debates

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Bills

Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Bill 2019; In Committee

1:12 pm

Photo of Jenny McAllisterJenny McAllister (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Cabinet Secretary) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you. I move amendment (1) on sheet 8794 circulated in my name:

(1) Schedule 1, item 1, page 27 (after line 22), at the end of section 153ZB, add:

(10) If:

(a) a body corporate (the disposing entity) that is a national system employer (within the meaning of the Fair Work Act 2009) is ordered to dispose of interests in securities or assets to a person (the receiving entity); and

(b) a provision of Part 2-8 of that Act would not apply, despite subsection (9), because a workplace instrument (the applicable instrument) that covered the disposing entity and an employee (the applicable employee) of the entity is not a transferable instrument (within the meaning of that Part);

Part 2-8 of that Act applies as if:

(c) a reference to an old employer in that Part included a reference to the disposing entity; and

(d) a reference to a new employer in that Part included a reference to the receiving entity; and

(e) a reference to a transferring employee in that Part included a reference to the applicable employee; and

(f) a reference to a transferable instrument in that Part included a reference to the applicable instrument.

(11) If:

(a) a body corporate (the disposing entity) that is a State public sector employer of a State (within the meaning of the Fair Work Act 2009) is ordered to dispose of interests in securities or assets to a person (the receiving entity) that is a national system employer; and

(b) a provision of Part 6-3A of that Act would not apply, despite subsection (9), because a workplace instrument (the applicable instrument) that covered the disposing entity and an employee (the applicable employee) of the entity is not a State award (within the meaning of that Part);

Part 6-3A of that Act applies as if:

(c) a reference to an old State employer in that Part included a reference to the disposing entity; and

(d) a reference to a new employer in that Part included a reference to the receiving entity; and

(e) a reference to a transferring employee in that Part included a reference to the applicable employee; and

(f) a reference to a State award in that Part included a reference to the applicable instrument.

In the debate in the other place, Labor moved amendments to ensure that entitlements that are contained in registered enterprise agreements and in awards are preserved and protected for workers in the case of a forcible divestiture. Following the Senate inquiry into the bill, it became clear that a similar issue exists for non-registered agreements between workers and employers in the context of possible divestiture. The evidence suggested this was particularly significant at Liddell Power Station, where the workers have obtained important commitments from the employer, through their union, in relation to employment after Liddell's scheduled closure. The union and the workers understandably seek to preserve these commitments in the event of divestiture.

This amendment accepts that no worker at Liddell or elsewhere should be worse off as a result of divestiture, which is a remedy for prohibited conduct that workers themselves have no part in. This amendment will ensure that non-registered agreements between workers and employers, which provide workers with additional protections agreed by employers, should be safeguarded in the event of divestment. I commend the amendment to the Senate.

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