Government confirms omnibus IR Bill is too toxic to stand alone

13 November 2023

The Business Council says it is disappointing that the Government has blocked a procedural motion to stop a debate and vote on their own workplace relations legislation, despite it having widespread support from the community, businesses and MPs and Senators.

The Government voted against a suspension of standing orders, which would have allowed for a debate and vote on the legislation which has already been passed by the Senate, with the Coalition and crossbench in support.

The four Bills were passed by the Senate last week and include support for first responders suffering PTSD, greater protections for workers experiencing domestic violence, expanding the Asbestos Agency to cover silicosis and support for small business workers.

“We are disappointed the Government has put politics before people by not allowing a vote on their own legislation, including more support for police and firefighters suffering PTSD, BCA Chief Executive Bran Black said.

“By not allowing a vote on its own legislation the Government has acknowledged the significant risk of the entire omnibus Bill to the economy and workers.

“The Government has confirmed its omnibus workplace relations Bill is too toxic to stand alone.

“We urge the Government to reconsider its position this week and we strongly support moves by the Coalition and crossbench MPs to bring on another vote in the House of Representatives.”

Mr Black said supporting the four non-controversial Bills and getting them passed this year would support workers while providing more time for the radical omnibus Bill to be rewritten.

“The omnibus Bill is full of extreme changes which will inflict significant pain on the economy, making it more costly for all businesses, result in less jobs and compound the cost-of-living crisis on workers.”

“The four Bills are policies which have broad support and the Government should not use them as a protection racket for bad policy contained in the omnibus Bill.”

Read the joint employer group letter here.


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