Master Builders Australia has called on the Senate to pass the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2019 – known as the Ensuring Integrity Bill – following the Senate Committee Inquiry’s recent endorsement.
The Ensuring Integrity Bill is intended to reduce unnecessary costs and delays that law-breaking unions can cause and make sure that building vital infrastructure like hospitals, schools and roads is affordable.
It will also give the Court the power to disqualify officials or cancel the registration of organisations where they do not work in the interests of their members, commit serious offences or have a record of law-breaking.
Why this legislation is important:
- Unlawful union and industrial action have real consequences – Master Builders Australia has estimated infrastructure projects in Australia, such as schools, roads and hospitals, can cost up to 30 per cent more due to union militancy and unlawful industrial action. 
- Existing laws have not deterred militant unions from continuing to engage in illegal conduct.
- Currently, an official of a registered organisation can retain their position even when they repeatedly break the law or commit serious criminal offences – this is out of step with community expectations.
The Ensuring Integrity Bill 2019 will introduce a range of measures, including:
- Giving the Court powers to disqualify officials of registered organisations that do not act in the interest of members, have a history of breaking the law or are otherwise not fit and proper to hold office in a registered organisation. Officials of law-abiding organisations will be unaffected and free to continue their good work.
- Giving the Court more flexibility to act to reconstitute dysfunctional organisations and introduce a public interest test for mergers of registered organisations.
- Cancelling the registration of an organisation where it or its officials have not acted in the interests of members, not complied with court orders, committed serious offences or have a record of law-breaking. Again, law-abiding organisations will be unaffected.
CEO of Master Builders Australia, Denita Wawn, says the ensuring integrity laws will help return rule of law to building and construction industry and protect workers, small businesses and apprentices from bullying.
“Registered organisations and their officials enjoy many rights and protections under existing laws that allow them to stand up for their members. There is no need to deliberately and systematically break laws to represent their member’s interests,” she said.