Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 October 2018) . . Page.. 4055 ..
The second recommendation is about increasing the threshold, where the tenderer has requirements for labour relations training and workplace equity planning, from $25,000. I suggested $1 million, but the point is that this is going to affect very small projects, very small pieces of work done by very small businesses. Complying with this would probably preclude them from engaging with government procurements, because the complexity of doing so for small businesses who do not have the HR staff, who do not have the legal representation, means that it is going to cut a whole bunch of smaller businesses out of dealing with government and tendering for government projects.
The third point I made is that we need more time. The MBA were very strong on this. They need more time to comply. This is being forced on them very quickly. We know that the CFMEU put a flyer out calling on their partners in crime, as they described the minister, to get on with this, to comply with this. I imagine that she is concerned about her preselection moving forward, but why not give business additional time to comply with this? I think we all know the reason. It is because otherwise there will be more flyers put out by the CFMEU and she will be in trouble when it comes to her preselection.
The next recommendation was that any individual or entity charged or convicted of a criminal offence punishable by at least two years imprisonment or convicted of an offence under workplace law not be a member of the secure local jobs advisory council. I am saying: let us not have criminals and let us not have people who have been convicted or found guilty of an offence on that advisory council. I find it staggering that the government is going to allow that to proceed. I will not go further with that debate, but it is extraordinary that the government is going to have people advising it who are repeated law breakers, and potentially criminals, under this law.
The next point I have made is that at least one member of the secure local jobs advisory council represent the interests of employers. At the moment, the legislation mandates that, of the six-member committee, three must be unionists. Three must come from the unions, but there is no commensurate balance that three must represent business. It is silent on that. You may find that six members of the committee, all the committee members, are all members of unions, union leaders. How is that balanced? All I have asked for is that there is one member, just one single voice, to represent the interests of business. And they have been knocked back. We are going to have a stack of everybody on this committee, it would appear, representing the interests of unions and not a single person representing the interests of business. You can see from that what the genuine intent of this bill is, as the MBA and the Business Chamber have said: a power of veto.
In my recommendations I have also asked that there be an independent review of the operation 24 months after its commencement. If the government is so sure that this is a wonderful piece of legislation, why not invite an independent review of it? I think that would be necessary. Maybe I am wrong. Why not have an independent review? The minister nods her head; maybe she is nodding her head about something else. But why not have an independent review?