We really need to let you know what’s going on with the new industrial relations Bill, called the ‘Loophole Bill’.
Hold on to your hats. This is something much more radical and far-reaching than anyone could have expected. To call it a Bill closing ‘loopholes’ is to lie. Its contents prove the lie.
The Bill proposes a transformation of key, core underpinnings of the Australian economy and society. It is perhaps the most radical change of its type seen since Federation.
To remind you, the Bill:
- Is 284 pages long, with a 521-page Explanatory memorandum.
- Covers multiple agendas.
The government had wanted this passed before Christmas this year, but the Senate has delayed it until February next year. The Senate is holding an inquiry. Submissions were due last Friday, 29 September. We’ve put in a submission that we can’t make public until the Senate Committee formally accepts it.
Putting our submission together was a formidable exercise and we haven’t even covered all the issues. But our 13,000-worder gets stuck into core, major items.
The Bill seeks to make commercial transactions subject to industrial relations regulation.
It will do this in relation to commercial transactions undertaken by individuals in the earning of their income.
In practical terms, the Bill will outlaw:
- the bulk of self-employment;
- digital (gig) platform operations in Australia;
- self-employed people from earning their income through digital/gig platforms; and
- self-employed owner-drivers;
as well as:
- casual employment.
Further, the Bill will:
- Damage competition law in Australia, creating opportunity for a further concentration of economic power by big business.
In short, the Bill will make a huge percentage of Australian small businesses illegal. This is why describing the Bill as ‘radical’ is warranted and accurate.
Our line-by-line analysis of key terms, sentences and structures of Bill shows how it achieves the above by:
- Overriding the High Court’s determinations on ‘employee vs self-employment’.
- Breaching Australia’s International Labour Organisation obligations to protect the status of self-employment.
- Overriding Australia’s competition laws and limiting the power of Australia’s competition regulator (the ACCC).
- Defining the commercial contract as an employment contract.
- Regulating self-employed people as employees.
- Regulating digital (gig) platforms to remove their commercial basis.
- Regulating owner-drivers as employees.
We’ll release our analysis of the Bill to you in ‘bits’ over the next few weeks so you have a chance to absorb it all.