Western Australia’s only Federal Parliamentarian independent of the major parties, Senator Zhenya ‘Dio’ Wang, will seek industry views on his proposed improvements to laws to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission given the absence of a response from the Government.
“In negotiations with the crossbenchers on the ABCC Bill, it would be incredibly helpful to know whether the Government thought our amendments were any good – but my office hasn’t had any substantive response to amendments we began discussing with the Government early this year,” said Senator Wang, who confirmed he would today write to Boral CEO Mike Kane about his proposed amendments.
“While we have heard many comments in the media from various ministers about their shifting rules of negotiation, we still haven’t had a formal response to repeated requests in the past two months for feedback on my ABCC amendments – correspondence I am happy to release publicly if the Government denies it.”
Last week, Senator Wang personally repeated the request for formal response when the Employment Minister text-messaged him to arrange a meeting, “so we could at least have an informed discussion before the Government’s early recall of Parliament specifically to deal with this legislation in just two weeks. A Government serious about achieving unity on an issue is as important as corruption and criminality would want to engage. But frankly, I’ve seen more interest from the Government in division than in solving the problem.”
Senator Wang said his ABCC amendments – which balance accountability for employers and workers, address wage exploitation and provide for checks-and-balances in the use of coercive powers – made the Bill fairer but did not substantially alter its intent. “That’s why I am now asking industry to step up and support crossbench amendments – otherwise the future of this legislation is abolition under the next ALP government, and more grist for the mill in ideological division in politics.”
Senator Wang said calls for a national ICAC issue were valid and well-supported by voters, “but we agree with Senator Muir that the ABCC Bill is not structured in any way to accept amendments of the significance required to bring about a proper investigative national body. That is why, with Senate support from all parties except for the LNP, I have created a vehicle to gather information and support for the construction of the complex legislation required to bring about this much-needed national investigative body, through the Inquiry into the Establishment of a National Integrity Commission.”
Public submissions for the inquiry into the establishment of an NIC close on April 20 and can be lodged online via