Robbert Gottliebsen, 13 April 2016

Jacqui Lambie comes from the left side of politics and has a lot of views I don’t subscribe to. But, once again, she has shown that she is not beholden to the union movement and will come out fighting for small enterprise when it’s under pressure. For example, she was a key supporter of the historic ‘unfair contracts’ legislation.

She has now become the fifth crossbencher to support trashing the disastrous Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

Malcolm Turnbull and his employment minister Michaelia Cash last week played silly electoral games promising to abolish the tribunal after the election. It was another political mistake by the Turnbull government (Malcolm Turnbull has forgotten how business works, April 11) and thankfully it has been reversed and the necessary legislation will be introduced.

As readers will know, I have written extensively in this subject, including a special plea for the crossbenchers to do the right thing by the nation (A plea to the Senate crossbenchers, March 31).

Queensland’s Glenn Lazarus responded by demanding the government introduce legislation abolishing the tribunal (How the crossbench can avert a disaster, April 4).

The National Party, which realised farmers would be devastated, supported his stand.

There were signs that Nick Xenophon was wavering, so, perhaps harshly, I reminded him of what he said when the Gillard master plan to give the Transport Workers Union control over our road transport via the tribunal was introduced.

Nick Xenophon supported that legislation but did not understand its impact. (Xenophon has been hopelessly misled, April 7) To his great credit, Xenophon will now support abolition of the tribunal.

It’s very sad that in the Senate we now have both the ALP and the Greens so dependent on union cash that they cannot see what is really happening in areas that affect unions.

Grace Collier in The Australian this morning explains how those hiring a removalist who is not a member of the TWU to go interstate, must pay a fixed sum which is a very high price and almost impossible to work out. And if they don’t pay that price, they are liable to be fined $5,400. This is all in the name of road safety.

As any reasonable person will understand, it’s nothing to do with road safety — it’s about TWU dominance.

We are still not there because two crossbenchers have decided to back the TWU and the nation needs six crossbenchers to support the government’s legislation.

There are only five supporters, as of this morning. Senator Wang from WA has not made a decision.

But there is a second chance. The matter is now before the High Court and the independent contractors association is seeking an injunction.

When we can’t rely on the parliament, the community needs to turn to the High Court. A strong case has been presented that the tribunal is not constitutional, but it’s up to the court to weigh up the issues involved.

The background to the tribunal was described in these earlier articles; I encourage you to read them: The high toll of punishing truckies, March 30 and Truckies are on the road to ruin, March 29.

Extracted in full from The Australian.

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