TRACK RECORDS IN GOVERNMENT : INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND RESPECT FOR WORKERS

LNP

March 2012 - January 2015

ALP

February 2015 - current

  • Made extensive changes to IR legislation, including: restricting access to industrial action by workers and allowing Ministers to unilaterally stop protected action; requiring the QIRC to consider the government’s fiscal position in any arbitration; restricting union officials’ right of entry; imposing onerous processes on unions to undertake political campaigning (later repealed after unions including the QTU challenged the decision in the High Court); banning industrial education leave for union members; massively increasing red tape for unions when balloting members on industrial action; removing industrial protections around contracting out and organisational change. 
  • Radically changed WorkCover (despite strong objections from the legal profession and the government’s own parliamentary committee) to raise the of bodily impairment threshold before workers could make common law claims against their employers’ negligence; the legal profession in Queensland at the time estimated that the change denied compensation to at least 50% of injured workers. 
  • Moved the Labour Day public holiday from May to October, ignoring 120 years of history.
  • Proposed a 42% pay rise for Queensland MPs, after having taken Supreme Court action to stop an interim pay rise for public servants.
  • Proposed widespread asset sales, despite strong public opposition against the loss of public assets and jobs.
  • After the LNP’s wholesale changes to IR legislation, undertook a review of the laws; established an IR system focused on setting minimum employment conditions and standards, acknowledging collective bargaining and individual rights to fair treatment, and ensuring an independent QIRC and industrial court.
  • Overturned the LNP’s requirement for unions to run ballots for industrial action only through the Electoral Commission Queensland, returning to the previous and long-term practice of unions democratically balloting their own members. 
  • Overturned the LNP’s provision that allowed Ministers to stop protected industrial action.
  • Overturned the LNP’s changes to WorkCover, returning the right to compensation to workers injured through their employers’ negligence.
  • Returned the Labour Day public holiday to May, and moved the Queen’s birthday holiday to October.
  • Linked Queensland MP’s pay rises to public servants’ pay rises.
  • Accepted all 140 recommendations from the Not Now, Not Ever report on domestic violence, including 10 days of paid leave for government employees experiencing domestic and family violence, and 10 days of unpaid leave for long-term casual employees.
  • Included the right to request flexible work arrangements in industrial instruments. 
  • Directed the Public Service Commission to review gender pay equity in the public service.
  • Expanded the jurisdiction of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) to help people who are suffering from workplace bullying.
  • Introduced industrial manslaughter legislation.