Ms. Parker, I’m not aware of the details of the Fair Work Act. Immense as it is. I’m concerned with companies employers including universities, backfilling risk assessments. It’s a topic Senator Matt Canavan touched on earlier, backfilling risk assessments to justify the decisions on mandating injections. Is that part of your remit to explore that?
Look, it’s a work health and safety matter. So, if they are undertaking a health and safety risk assessment, as you say, they’re doing it afterwards to make it look like,
Well, when I meant by back filling is exactly that, to make it look like they do it up front but it’s rubbish.
Yeah, I understand. Yeah.
Yeah. You know what I mean.
It’s a work health and safety issue and they would need, I would encourage them, whoever you’re talking about, particularly to contact their Work Health and Safety Regulator in the state that it’s occurring in.
Unfortunately that’s a state government.
Yes, that’s correct.
Which is quite often putting the pressure on the mandate injection.
It depends on, there’s a difference between mandating and actually coming up with a risk assessment after the fact. I think that’s a different issue.
What I’m talking about is the risk assessment is done supposedly upfront.
But it’s rubbish.
Yes. I still think they could contact the work health safety regulator because that seems to me a breach of the requirements but it’s on the face of it, but it would have to see it in.
Rather than the breach of due process in negotiating something.
Speaking in the general,
Appears that way, yes.
Speaking in the general, to reverse engineer a risk assessment rather than genuinely taking into account that the risks and benefits and,
And the genuine matters for consideration would without giving you legal advice, be something that’s fraudulent under Workplace health and safety laws. And so I would suggest people in that situation take a good look at that and consider the safety regulator that’s relevant to their workplace.
The only thing I’d add to that Senator is, the Work Health and Safety Authorities are independent statutory authorities. So they operate independent from government and it’s not unusual for Work Health and Safety authorities to take departments to court, etc for where they feel they’ve failing their duties. So, people should have confidence in going to their regulators.
Thank you. One final question, just getting a gut feel from you. The massively thick, Fair Work Act has got a hell of a lot of, I can see you smiling before you broke burst into laughter, got a lot of complexity in it. And it works for the members of the IR club, HR consultants, legal lawyers, large union bosses, employer associations that are kept in work by having problems to fix. The employer-employee relationship, which should be the fundamental and primacy of that relationship at work has been ignored, shoved aside, and too often vested interests get involved. Do you see any sense of that?
So, what I would say is that, it’s our job to try to cut through that. So, we’ve been established to try to educate and help people with that. So, absolutely agree there’s complexity, there’s individual arrangements, they’re all different, people have case by case issues. It’s complex system, but so is work, so is life, so is going, you know, everyone with different jobs has a different arrangement. That’s the nature of the business we operate in. Our job is to try to cut through that and help people to determine what’s the right thing to do. So if an employer rings us then we will talk them through what it is they’re concerned about and we will help them to make it right. We can provide them with outsourced legal advice. We can give them written advice. We have very good education products, very good websites. We try to make them simple. We consult on them. We get feedback on them. We have a small business hotline. We work very hard to try to simplify the system as much as possible. So they don’t have to feel overwhelmed, which is what I think you’re talking about.
I am .
Sorry. In fairness to Ms. Parker, she only gets to work with what we parliamentarians give her.
And it is a very large and it is a very complex act. But as you and I know, Senator Roberts, it’s the kind of sensitive area that requires all the different parties in this parliament to work together in order to get it through. And as we saw recently with the last Industrial Relations Bill to come before the parliament, some in this parliament would stand in the way of the kind of simplicity and transparency that makes it fairer for everybody, and that generates the kind of economic opportunity that works best for the people who need it most in our community.
Can I just highlight, hang on, Senator Roberts. Can I just highlight, we are 20 minutes over our supper break. Is it? What do they call it? Late break. I like supper better Still Late for smoke senators Roberts. But, do you want to continue or-
Yeah, just very briefly in response to the minister.
Be very brief. Thanks
The complexities make it impossible for some small businesses and especially for some workers, including those represented, by so-called, big unions. because the union bosses are part of the club.
And so what we need, and Ms. Parker alluded to it, the primacy of the workplace relationship between employer-employee needs to be brought back with unions, If the workers want representatives. Got no problem with that. But I’ve already got Dave Nunan, Michael Ravbar, the BCA, other groups, interested in exploring that issue, because the CFMEU legal counsel, the ETU legal counsel had both said we’ve got too many damn lawyers in this mess. They’re lawyers.
Well look, I don’t disagree fundamentally with what you’ve got to say there but the barrier doesn’t lie with government. The barrier lies over that side of the room.
I would say the barrier lies with a lot of people in this room and other rooms.
Okay. Well without getting into a debate. Thank you Senator…