• Media Release

Senate commended for protecting vulnerable workers in IR Bill split

The Minerals Council of Australia commends the Senate for voting to split the Albanese Government’s damaging Industrial Relations bill, and passing vitally important legislation to help protect vulnerable Australian workers.

The passage of four Private Senators Bills that deal primarily with workplace safety, is a credit to Senator Jacqui Lambie and Senator David Pocock. 

They are matters that should never have been conflated with the government’s reckless re-writing of the industrial relations law; changes that will wreak havoc on Australia’s small and large businesses, and the broader economy.  

It is crucial the House of Representatives urgently passes these separated bills that simplify compensation for first responders, expand the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, improve protections for employees subjected to family and domestic violence, and provide clearer rules around small business insolvencies. 

To delay their passing would leave vulnerable workers at considerable risk. This would be particularly disappointing for first responders, given the extreme fire risk the nation faces heading into summer. 

Failure to give first responders the immediate surety and confidence in their compensation arrangements would be to fail them. First responders are always there for their communities. This is a time when Australia can be there for them. They should not be held to ransom, or used as a pawn to attract support for the government’s highly contentious. 

These four matters have broad consensus support from unions, business groups, political parties and workers. 

These are not matters that can wait.

With this good work done, it is now time for the government to go back to the drawing board on the remainder of the Closing Loopholes bill.