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- Improved heath and education services.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

O'Farrell's hidden agenda on HSU administrator bill

Media Release - 8 May 2012

Legislation introduced into NSW Parliament today to allow the HSU to be put into administration has a hidden agenda which may have wide ramifications, according to Greens NSW Industrial Relations spokesperson David Shoebridge.

"The Government professes to be sorting out a legal technicality in the HSU case but is in fact introducing a bill that has much greater powers than are required to address this problem," Mr Shoebridge said.

"The Greens support legislation which allows for a union to be placed in administration where there is clear evidence of gross misuse of funds or gross administrative abuses.

"However, we have severe reservations about the scope of the government's bill and the unparalleled powers it gives the Finance minister to place almost any union in administration.

"The bill sets an extraordinarily low bar for the Minister to appoint an administrator to an industrial organisation.

"There are no restrictions on the identity of the administrator, no notice requirements before an administrator is appointed by the Minister and no   limitation on which unions he can place in administration.

"The Greens have proposed an amendment which will replace the over-arching Ministerial power with the ability for the Commission in Court session to make an interim appointment if the interests of the members and the interest of justice require it.

"This is ugly wedge politics from the O'Farrell government.  It is using the HSU debacle to attack the integrity of the balance of the union movement.

"The Greens support balanced legislation for the independent oversight of unions, but not for political control by O'Farrell's finance minister," Mr Shoebridge said.

Media contact: 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376

HSU Administrator Bill passes NSW Upper House
Media Release - 10 May 2012

The NSW Upper House last night passed a law to appoint an administrator to the Health Service Union (HSU) East branch but only after amending it to curtail 'extraordinary' that the O'Farrell government had proposed to give to Finance Minister Greg Pearce.

The bill, as first introduced into NSW Parliament on Tuesday, proposed to give the Finance Minister the power to appoint an administrator to any union, if he "believed" that there was an investigation being undertaken into its conduct.

The amendments made to the Bill stripped back the powers of the Finance Minster and instead gave the primary responsibility for appointing an administrator to the Industrial Relations Commission.

Greens NSW Industrial Relations spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"The long suffering members of the HSU deserve to have laws in place that allow an unbiased tribunal consider if an administrator needs to be appointed to the union, decide who that administrator should be, and do it quickly.  That's what this amended piece of legislation provides for.

"Unions must be independent of government, and if an administrator needs to be appointed then that decision needs to be made by the independent umpire, not a Minister in Mr O'Farrell's government.

"With the law passing the Upper House last night this will allow a quick and decisive decision to be made about the appointment of administrator to the HSU East Branch, as soon as Friday of this week

"It was essential that the Parliament fixed this bill and limit the ability of any politician to interfere in the internal workings of a union.

"The process of putting a union in to administration must be transparent, and that process must be free of political interference'.

"To give that kind of centralised power to a single politician who will have partisan interests for the government, often in direct conflict with unions who will be seeking wage and other benefits for their members against the government, was a truly extraordinary proposition.

"At the end of the day this was a good example of the Upper House doing what it should do, reviewing a piece of legislation to ensure that everyone's legitimate interests are protected," Mr Shoebridge said.

As reported by AAP: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/nsw-hsu-bill-amended-in-upper-house/story-e6frfku0-1226351429762

More information 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376

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