Prime Minister Julia Gillard departed from tradition by
announcing the Federal election more than seven months in advance.
Australian citizens will go to the vote on Saturday, 14 September
2013 to elect members of the 44th Parliament of Australia. Voting
is compulsory for all Australian citizens aged 18 years and
Workplace Bullying in the Spotlight
The Australian Government has announced it will amend the Fair
Work Act 2009 (Cth) to give the national workplace tribunal, the
Fair Work Commission (FWC), the power to deal with workplace
bullying complaints. Under the changes proposed, a national
definition of workplace bullying will be adopted, but it will
recognise that bullying does not include reasonable management
practices, including performance management conducted
The changes will allow employees to make a complaint about
bullying in the workplace to the FWC, and the FWC will be required
to deal with the application as a priority. The FWC will also be
given power to make orders to deal with the complaint or to refer
it to the relevant state workplace health and safety regulator.
These amendments follow the recommendations made by a
Parliamentary Committee in its recent report, Workplace Bullying:
We just want it to stop. The same report also called upon the
national workplace safety policy body, Safe Work Australia (SWA),
to urgently progress the draft Model Code of Practice, Managing the
Risk of Workplace Bullying. It is expected that SWA will release
the Model Code in the first half of this year for further public
comment so that it can be finalised and released for adoption
Expansion to Right to Request Flexible
The Australian Government has also announced that it will
introduce legislation before the September 14 election to broaden
the right to request flexible work under the Fair Work Act 2009
(Cth). This announcement follows the release of a report, Investing
in Care: Recognising and Valuing Those Who Care by the Australian
Human Rights Commission (AHRC), which suggested that carers'
rights should be extended by removing the restrictions on the
categories of employees who have a right to request flexible work.
Currently, the right to request flexible hours is limited to
parents with responsibility for a child under school age or a child
with disability aged under 18. Under the proposed amendments, the
right to request will be extended to workers with caring
responsibilities, employees who are parents or have responsibility
for the care of a child of school age, employees with disability,
mature-age employees and workers affected by domestic violence.
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Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
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