The previous Labor Government under Julia Gillard’s watch promised to modernise workplace awards for the benefit of employers and employees.
By replacing multiple state and federal awards, Ms Gillard assured us it would lessen the burden on business.
But talk to any small business owner today and they will tell you the reverse is the case.
Labor’s new Fair Work laws have brought greater complexity, greater uncertainty, greater inflexibility and greater costs.
The regulations are so complex that most employers can't work them out.
In short, they’ve been a disaster for job security and job creation.
They have effectively strangled employers and killed any incentives to employ additional full-time staff.
There is now a growing number of skilled people who can't find full-time work because 40 per cent of new jobs are casual or contract.
And horror stories are emerging where small businesses are being forced into bankruptcy or are suffering severe financial strain because of vexatious and often spurious claims by “aggrieved” employees.
The new Fair Work laws have caused an explosion in litigation. In the law's first full year of operation, the number of formal cases lodged with Fair Work Australia leapt 110 per cent to more than 37,000 cases. Under the new laws, the onus of proof has been reversed – employers are GUILTY until proven INNOCENT.
The only winners are industrial lawyers, whose numbers are mushrooming daily.
The Australian Industry Group, set up to protect the interests of Australian industry, has identified some 120 areas where union power has increased under the Fair Work Act.
Chief executive Innes Willox has repeatedly warned Government that the bill fails to address issues of real concern to Australian business.
Mr Willox says the absence of any attempt at balance is glaring. Senator Eric Abetz, while opposition spokesman on industrial relations, was an outspoken critic of the legislation.
Now, as Minister for Employment in the Abbott Government we urge him to review this divisive legislation as a priority.