Time for the ACTU to face facts

27 Apr 2018 |

For the ACTU to claim today that it is standing up for the independence of the Fair Work Commission shows either ignorance or conceit.

It’s time for the ACTU to get real. It’s time to set some facts straight.

The ACTU attacks the independence and credibility of the industrial umpire whenever it makes a decision that unions don’t like.

The ACTU needs to be reminded of what most of us learn at primary school – just because you don’t get what you want, doesn’t mean the rules are wrong or that it’s right to break them.

Australia cannot allow national policy in an area as critical as workplace relations to be dictated by unions.

Union proposals will only further damage enterprise bargaining and drive combative approaches when employees and employers should be cooperating to achieve outcomes that work for both parties.

If the ACTU has its way we will see small and medium sized businesses go to the wall under the pressure of excessive wage increases, and young and less-skilled people further priced out of jobs.

We will also see conflict ridden workplaces and significant disruption to community services as reasonable limitations on strikes are removed, and taxpayers foot the bill for more expensive and delayed hospitals, schools and roads.

Enough is enough, it is time for unions to come clean.

Their campaign isn’t about workers’ jobs – it’s about union relevance and survival.

  • The ACTU worked hand-in-hand with the Rudd/Gillard government to design the current rules.
  • The majority of Commission members were appointed by Labor governments.
  • Every time the ACTU loses a major case, its answer is to attack the umpire:

The Commission refuses to let employees dictate when they will work = the ACTU demands a change in the rules.

The Commission adopts unpaid rather than paid domestic violence leave = the ACTU demands a change in the rules.

The Commission moderately reduces some penalty rates after reviewing mountains of evidence in a forensic 550-page decision = the ACTU demands a change in the rules.

Even when the Commission awards minimum wage increases well above inflation, the ACTU still wants to change the rules– despite Australia having the second highest minimum wages in the world.


Business rejects the politics of division. We need to work with our people to succeed.

Instead, the Australian Chamber believes the pathway to reform can be addressed by:

  • Taking up recommendations of the independent Productivity Commission.
  • Examining positive ideas such as those released today by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman for smaller businesses.

Fixing problems with the enterprise bargaining system, rather than effectively destroying it by rewarding unions for deliberate intransigence and striking to secure the reward of arbitration.

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

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