So here’s the goss. Shorten wants to amend the Fair Work Act to include two statutory Vice President positions. This was not recommended by his friendly review panel of the Act, not even mentioned. Given the never-ending stream of union affiliated appointments to Fair Work Australia, it is not as though they need anymore staff.
The amendment has been passed by the House – gosh, those independent members have been good value - but is stuck in the Senate. My guess is that it will go through.
But here’s the rub – the currrent Vice Presidents are not to the government’s liking; they were not appointed by them. So why not appoint two friendlies to push them down the peck order.
Initially, the money was on Josh Bornstein, Labor labour lawyer who made his name defending the MUA during the waterfront dispute of 1998. He was even portrayed in the laughably inaccurate ABC television drama – no surprises on this last point. And the other appointment was intended for Jeff Lawrence, the now deposed ACTU Secretary. He was deemed to be a poor campaigner at the ACTU, if you know what I mean.
(We now have Dave Oliver at the ACTU with his girlfriend, ex-ACTU, appointed to FWA and head of one of the panels. All so convenient.)
The betting has now shifted to Jenny Acton, who is currently a member of Fair Work Australia and was rumoured to be a candidate for the President’s job. And the other will go to a representative nominated by the Ai Group, whose opposition to the amendment to the FWA has now shifted to being OK with it as long as the appointment is made ‘on merit.’
There is no doubt that the IR Club is in rude health.