9 December 2020
This morning the Government introduced the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Withdrawal from Amalgamations) Bill 2020.
I abstained from voting on this legislation as I was not presented with any opportunity to even read the Bill prior to it being immediately put to a vote by the Government.
The Government presented the Bill for its first reading and immediately proceeded to suspend standing orders to push the Bill through to immediate second reading debate and vote.
I opposed the suspension of standing orders as no reason for urgency was provided and the Government had not provided any prior briefing, copies or drafts of the legislation to enable some understanding of its content. I had no opportunity to ascertain the merits, legality or broader implications of the Bill.
I supported a motion to delay debate of the Bill by one day in accordance with standard practice, to provide all members with the opportunity to review the legislation, as is usual practice.
Clearly, a deal had been done between Government and Labor as only the crossbench opposed the legislation being rushed through without any opportunity to read the Bill, have any debate or speeches other than from the Minister and Shadow Minister. The Bill passed the lower house within an hour of its introduction.
This Bill has been covered in the media as one that is aimed at the separation of the CFMEU. Whilst I am likely to have been in favour of the Bill, the Government and opposition again demonstrated today a complete disregard for proper democratic process.