Submission to the Senate on the Fair Trade (Workers’ Rights) Bill 2013

The Business Council of Australia has made a submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Standing Committee regarding the Fair Trade (Workers’ Rights) Bill 2013.

The Bill proposes that trade agreements with another country include a binding agreement for minimum standards about workers’ rights in the other country’s domestic law.

While the BCA recognises the importance of regulations that protect workers’ basic rights, we do not support the proposed changes in the Bill because:

  • there is a lack of identified shortcomings in Australia’s current approach to considering workers’ rights in trade agreements
  • Australia’s current approach to this issue is effective and flexible
  • there is the potential for the proposed provisions to be a disguised form of protectionism
  • there is a lack of evidence supporting the effectiveness of the proposed provisions in enhancing minimum standards for workers’ rights in other countries.