Senate turns a blind eye to bullying and thuggery

The senate’s decision to turn a blind eye to harassment, thuggery, corruption and bullying in the union movement has let hard working Australians down, Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said today.

“The senate needs to revisit the government’s integrity measures as quickly as possible and decide whether they are acting in the long-term interest of all Australians or in the short-term interest of a few.’’

“Yesterday’s short-sighted decision to block the government’s integrity measures means there will be no change in the workplace relations system.

“No change means bullying, thuggery, corruption and intimidation will continue.

“No change impacts on workers who simply want to be represented by union officials acting with integrity arguing in their bests interests.

“And, no change means the enterprise bargaining system, which is the way workers have historically received better wages and conditions, will continue to fall apart because there is no integrity underpinning it.’’

“We understand the community’s legitimate anger at recent behaviour from some of Australia’s biggest companies. I share that anger and we all need to do better.

“When business does not live up to community expectations it should fix those problems and do it quickly but that is no reason to punish all Australians with a workplace relations system that leaves them worse off.

“Australians deserve a productive, thriving business community so they can get a good job, stay in a job, and get the skills and training they need. They need strong businesses to prosper.

“We urge all Senators to be cautious about unleashing policies that won't just harm people in boardrooms, but all Australians.

“Over the past few years parliament has passed over 40 laws and regulations targeting business conduct.

“These include measures to jail directors, set wages for bank executives, ensure the banks pay a special levy, and give regulators far reaching powers including to intervene in energy prices.

“While the senate has taken action on corporate Australia, it has decided to turn a blind eye to harassment, thuggery, corruption and bullying in the union movement.’’