PIAA condemns Fair Work Commission

PIAA CEO Andrew Macaulay and director of government relations Mary-Jo Fisher have blasted the federal government over the archaic Fair Work Commission, following the vice president’s resignation.

Macaulay says, “How can a supposedly pro-business Government fall silent when a Commission insider blows the whistle on anti-business, anti-employment, anti-productivity conduct from the industrial umpire? Surely the Government cannot think that all is well. From our experiences in helping members, we know that the Commission is a danger zone for our members.”

Commission vice president Graeme Watson labelled the commission as partisan, dysfunctional and divided. He said the workplace relations system does not foster economic prosperity. He sent a letter to Employment Minister Michaelia Cash saying he was resigning years early as a result.

Macaulay’s comments came as Macaulay and Fisher met with former federal treasurer Peter Costello in Melbourne, where Costello called out the federal government as missing in action, after it received a written critique of the workplace relations system from a Fair Work Commission insider.

[Related: PIAA urges ACCC to clear merger]

Costello says, “One of the most senior members of an expensive and powerful government body has blown the whistle on the failure of that organisation to serve the purposes for which it exists, and apparently no member of the government finds it necessary to respond. Does the government agree with the Watson analysis? Or does it disagree with it? We do not know.”

“Watson’s resignation letter was an unprecedented action that had largely been met with silence. Commentator Judith Sloan wrote a piece about it in The Australian, but other than that I have seen little media comment’’

Macaulay also sent commentary to both Fairfax and News Ltd outlets with no editorial response.

“The response thus far? Apparently, our comments – in other words, issues specific to employment and productivity in the printing industry, the largest employer in the manufacturing sector – are not of sufficiently broad interest to cut through” Macaulay says.

Macaulay says politically, Costello’s point is the real hub. 

Watson’s resignation will be affective from February 28. Macaulay and Fisher will travel to Canberra to lobby Cash to change federal workplace regulations.

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