Malcolm Turnbull has personally instructed the federal division of the Liberal Party to cease legal action against the Liberal Democratic Party to avoid jeopardising sensitive Senate negotiations over the government’s flagship industrial relations legislation.
Overnight Monday, the Senate was due to sit late and pass one of the bills to establish a registered organisations commission. The government hopes that by next week, it will have also passed a bill to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Speaking of the government’s IR legislation the first bill passed the Parliament last night:
The legislation passed after 2am this morning after the government secured the support of crossbencher Derryn Hinch and the Nick Xenophon Team, along with One Nation.
The Senate had been forced to sit indefinitely on Monday night until the legislation was voted on.
Senators Xenophon and Hinch insisted they had secured what could be the best whistleblower protections in the world in exchange for their support for the bill to establish a Registered Organisations Commission to oversee unions and their officials.
They secured amendments to protect and compensate union whistleblowers while also obtaining an undertaking from the government to extend the same protections — or stronger ones — to whistleblowers in the corporate and public sectors. A parliamentary inquiry will examine the whistleblower protections in the legislation and if it recommends a stronger regime for corporate and public sector whistleblowers, the government will establish an expert advisory panel to draft legislation to implement those reforms.
The legislation needs to be introduced by December 2017 and dealt with no later than June 30, 2018, according to the undertaking.
This is a good outcome for the government – although it remains to be seen if they renege on the committments given the Hinch and Xenophon. I think we should use the term “Leyonhjelmed” to describe broken legislative promises given to Senators. I suspect also that the ALP and Greens will support that legislation.