QTU President
Kevin Bates

President’s comment 6 June 2013

One day, two bills, light years apart

Wednesday, 5 June saw two new pieces of legislation passed by two different levels of government.

One is the culmination of a rigorous process of research, analysis and consultation that has the future well-being and success of the nation as its aim. The other is the product of ill-conceived notions based on ideology that will do nothing to improve the lot of any citizens.

The Australian Education Bill 2012 passed through the Federal House of Representatives, and now will go to the Senate when it next sits on 17 June. The Bill sets out how the new federal/state school funding arrangements will be implemented – at least, in those states which have signed up.

The Bill makes explicit how crucial elements of the funding system will be calculated and distributed, building on the recommendations of the schools funding review, headed by David Gonski, which started in 2010. It confirms the school resourcing standard, and the loadings which will be delivered to schools to help overcome their students’ educational disadvantage.

The second piece of legislation was passed by the LNP’s Queensland Government.

The Industrial Relations (Transparency and Accountability of Industrial Organisations) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2013 is one of the most extreme pieces of legislation passed in Queensland for decades. (Its champion, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, admitted as much in an ABC radio interview.)

Couched, as its name suggest, in the rhetoric of transparency and accountability for union and employer groups, the Bill as passed rejects or only partially accepts many recommendations made by the responsible committee, which had undertaken some consultation under the incredibly tight timeframes allowed.

Appropriate accountability to relevant people is perfectly acceptable. Gagging unions with red tape from representing their members’ interests is quite another. That is what these new IR laws aim to achieve.

Queensland – beautiful one day, eerily silent the next…

Kevin Bates