Event: Denita Wawn interview with Peta Credlin, Sky News
Date: Monday 28 November 2022, 6.50pm AEDT
Speakers: Peta Credlin, host Sky News; Denita Wawn, CEO Master Builders Australia
Topics: industrial relations
Peta Credlin, host Sky News: Denita Wawn is chief executive of Master Builders Australia. She joins me now. Denita. Business went along to the jobs summit. They were told this is a collaborative government, this is not like old Labor, this is new Labor. And then along comes this legislation. Not much consultation time. You were told that you wouldn’t see it until next year. They now look like they will have is passed by Christmas. Are these amendments from David Pocock making a bad Bill better or are there still problems?
Denita Wawn, CEO Master Builders Australia: It’s a tinker on the edges that makes it a little bit better but fundamentally it’s bad legislation. There’s been virtually no consultation. We haven’t even obviously seen the amendments. I think there’s now about 50, 60 pages of amendments. This is probably in the 30 years that I’ve been involved in industrial relations the worst consultation process I’ve seen.
Peta: Why haven’t they circulated the amendments? That shocks me that you haven’t even seen them.
Denita: Well, we hadn’t seen them as of Sunday. We’ve been stuck in meetings all day. Obviously, the amendments would have come through to the staff, but we have not had a formal, consultative process that is required under the national workplace relations consultative council. There is a requirement that the NWRCC sees the legislation that they are involved in the consultation with that and certainly from my perspective standing here, sitting here at the moment, haven’t seen an invitation to attend a meeting that is required under law to discuss these amendments. So, fundamentals have not been followed. We’ve had insufficient amount of time to consider a substantive piece of legislation. I mean the fact that we had staff appearing before a Senate inquiry the day after 40-odd pages of amendments had been introduced into the House and now we’ve got even more, does not stack up to good governance.
Peta: Yeah, and we’ve just had an election. This is the sort of policy that gets hammered out prior to the election, exposed to voters, we go into the ballot choosing one option or another, and then afterwards it’s usually something that’s negotiated for a good period of time. But you’ve had this thrown on you in a matter of months.
Denita: That’s right. We’ve got this legislation it’s far beyond the policy that was taken by the ALP to the election. We’ve then had it rushed through. This compares to the time where the Rudd/Gillard government came in. There was a very extensive piece of policy that was taken to the Australian people. The then Minister Julia Gillard actually followed appropriate process. I remember being stuck in meetings non-stop for over two weeks as we went through that legislation line by line looking at the implications it would have. We couldn’t argue on policy, but we could argue on technicalities and the impacts it would have on the economy. This is very different to what we are experiencing now.
Peta: I remember that consultation at the time and the opposition got some consultation and I remember sitting in the parliament until late at night particularly on issues related to small business. Thank you, Denita.
National Director, Media & Public Affairs
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