2 December 2022
Haines supports the amended Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill
Early Friday morning Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines voted in support of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill after it returned to the House of Representatives following Senate amendments.
Dr Haines initially voted against the complex legislation because of the Government’s rushed process to ensure the bill was passed before the end of the year. This led to unanswered questions and concerns about unintended consequences, especially for small business.
Following a Senate Committee inquiry into the bill and further amendments from the Government and the crossbench in the Senate, Dr Haines supported the bill when it returned to the House of Representatives Friday morning.
“I strongly support the objectives of the bill to increase wages, particularly for low-paid sectors like childcare, and to close the gender pay gap,” Dr Haines said.
“I am pleased the Government has addressed concerns about the impact this bill will have on small business. This was a significant concern of many people I spoke to.”
Amendments to the final bill passed in Parliament on Friday include increasing the definition of a small business employer to a business with 20 employees or fewer.
Businesses with 50 employees or fewer will also be able to argue they are not ‘reasonably comparable’ to other businesses and therefore not compelled into the single interest bargaining stream.
There will also be a two year review period for the bill to monitor how the legislation is working.
“These amendments provide clarification about how the new provisions of the bill will work, particularly the single interest, multi-employer bargaining stream. They demonstrate that the parliamentary process was effective to bring the bill back to the House of Representatives in a better state that I can now support,” Dr Haines said.
“Thank you to those constituents who contacted me and shared their views, and for the businesses and chambers of commerce who I consulted with. I will watch how the bill operates, with the hope that we see wages, including women’s wages, start to increase.”
Dr Haines said she hoped the Government would improve processes in the future regarding the speed at which complex Bills are introduced, debated and voted on in Parliament.
“The job of a conscientious legislator is to scrutinise every Bill carefully, to consider what it means for their electorate and ask the right questions to safeguard against unintended consequences.
“The job of an Independent politician is not to be a rubber stamp, to wave everything through. It is to think deeply and vote in the best interests of the people you represent, not follow a party line.”