Another quick one giving an update on the new anti-bullying laws from an article our co-author Madame Zena saw in Saturday’s The Australian and kindly shared with us. Basically, governments in NSW, Queensland and South Australia have made it clear they would oppose any federal pressure to cede their powers relating to workplace bullying.
NSW, QLD and SA say NO to access to federal anti-bullying laws
Governments in NSW, Queensland and South Australia have made it clear they would oppose any federal pressure to cede their powers relating to workplace bullying.
The new federal anti-bullying provisions came into effect on 1 January 2014. However many workers including all state public sector workers, workers for sole traders and partnerships are excluded from accessing the new anti-bullying provisions at Fair Work Commission as theses workers still remain under state Industrial systems.
The response of the State governments leaves little likelihood that state public sector workers and the excluded private sector workers will ever have access to the new federal anti-bullying laws at Fair Work Commission.
Likewise the State governments have also indicated that there is no intention to legislate similar anti-anti bullying measures to those at FWC within their own state industrial systems to replicate those available to employees covered by federal Industrial laws.
Given the immense union opposition when Victoria referred its industrial powers to the Federal Government in 1996 its unlikely unions would likewise support any transfer of Industrial powers by other States and will probably remain fairly mute on state based employees not having access to the federal Fair Work anti-bullying provisions.
Labor calls for unity on bullying
From: The Australian January 04, 2014
LABOR has urged co-operation between state and federal governments to expand the reach of new anti-bullying legislation.
The call came amid state resistance to a union push that would give the Fair Work Commission greater powers over workers who lodge complaints.
Acting Opposition Leader Penny Wong said states should consider co-operating to broaden the commission’s reach.
“The laws currently do cover a significant number of Australians,” she said. “If there was a capacity for the laws with state co-operation to cover more employees, I think that should be looked at, but that will be a matter for the government.”
“If a co-operative approach with the states is required to extend them into jurisdictions where they’re intended to be, then that should be done,” his spokesman said.
The ACTU has urged IR ministers to establish exactly which workers will be excluded from the FWC’s anti-bullying powers and commit to closing any gaps.
A federal government spokeswoman said it wanted to assess the new scheme’s efficacy before considering any extension of the legislation.
Governments in NSW, Queensland and South Australia said they would oppose any federal pressure to cede their powers relating to workplace bullying.
State Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said Queensland would work with the federal government on the best way to investigate complaints.
“Any further centralisation of industrial relations powers has the potential to leave Queensland workers short-changed, which is completely unacceptable,” he said.
NSW Industrial Relations Minister Mike Baird said NSW already had a comprehensive anti-bullying regime in place.
South Australian Industrial Relations Minister John Rau would not support a handover even though national consistency was “a desirable idea”.
Victoria does not have an industrial relations tribunal. A government spokesman said criminal legislation enforcing penalties of up to 10 years in jail showed it was “taking a strong stand against bullying wherever it may occur”.
Revised May 2014