The government this week introduced a bill that aims to put a stop to secret agreements between employers and unions without the knowledge of union members. The next hurdle will be the Senate, although it’s possible Labor may support the legislation.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash says she is always in discussion with the Senate crossbenchers about the implementation of the recommendations from the Heydon royal commission.
“And certainly, I’m always willing to sit down with [Shadow Employment Minister] Brendan O'Connor or Richard Di Natale to discuss the legislation.”
Beyond these new measures, Cash suggests the government wants to legislate more recommendations from the royal commission into trade unions.
“There are about 50 to 55 left and we are finalising that package as we speak. We are absolutely committed to adopting the Heydon recommendations.
"There are further recommendations in relation to what employers and unions should be disclosing in the course of enterprise agreements. There are some recommendations which go to, for example, choice of superannuation fund in enterprise agreements. There are some recommendations which go towards further transparency. Again, we’re happy to adopt them all.”
Following a ruling by the Fair Work Commission to cut Sunday penalty rates in industries such as hospitality, retail and fast food, some businesses have been reluctant to show strong support for the changes. Cash would like to see more businesses take up the cause.
“I believe that if you accept a decision and you embrace the positive benefits and you want to bring people with you, then yes, you should be out there selling that message.
"These guys are scared. They are scared that the unions will come and get them.”