Thursday, 9 November 2023
Education and Employment Legislation Committee; Reference
At the request of Senator Cash, I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that the Albanese Labor Government's Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 is complex and requires intense scrutiny;
(b) requires the Education and Employment Legislation Committee to hold a public hearing on Monday, 22 January 2024 from 9.30 am to 5 pm for the purposes of its inquiry into the bill:
(i) to hear from representatives of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations for no less than four hours, from 9.30 am,
(ii) to hear from any additional witnesses, as resolved by the Education and Employment Legislation Committee, and
(iii) the Education and Employment Legislation Committee can resolve to conclude the hearing earlier only after paragraph (b)(i) is satisfied; and
(c) requires that the Education and Employment Legislation Committee must not report earlier than its current reporting date of 1 February 2024.
The government will not be supporting this motion. We have never supported any delay to this bill, and that remains the government's position. This should be called out for what it is: nothing more than a stunt designed to delay the bill further. This inquiry has already held more hearings than any other inquiry on industrial relations legislation in the history of the Fair Work Act. We don't support delaying the bill, because every day of delay is another day where workers in the gig economy and road transport industry have no minimum standards; wage theft remains not a criminal offence; labour hire can be used to undercut agreed rates of pay; and casuals can be on permanent hours for years on end without any of the security of permanent work. Voting to delay this bill is voting to keep the loopholes undercutting pay and conditions open. The government urges the Senate to reject any further delays to this bill.