High Court decision requires unions to play by the rules

The 4-1 High Court decision handed down yesterday that overturns an earlier decision by the Federal Court and clarifies the difference between protected and unprotected industrial action has been welcomed by former Employment Minister Eric Abetz.

The High Court has ruled that unions cannot undertake protected industrial action during bargaining if they are in breach of orders from the Fair Work Commission. The decision makes clear that those who “demonstrated they were not prepared, or prepared to take sufficient care, to play by the rules” should not be afforded the immunities offered under protected industrial action.

“This important decision ensures that privileges offered under the Fair Work Act are only afforded if people are playing by the rules and complying with the law,” Senator Abetz said.

“Sadly, we see time and again that union bosses openly and defiantly break the law and ignore orders from the Commission where it suits them. This decision will clarify the operation of the law and ensure further consequences for law-breaking and defiance.”

“I trust that all players in the industrial space, including the political arm of the militant union bosses – Mr Shorten and Mr O’Connor – will accept and respect this decision,” Senator Abetz concluded.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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