The proposal by Christian Porter – reported this morning – to introduce penalties for workers in some unfair dismissal claims will tip the balance even further towards employers.

Australia’s unfair dismissal laws were introduced in 2009 after the hated WorkChoices legislation of the Howard Government had removed legal protection against unfair dismissal for millions of workers.

The current laws are designed to offer a low-cost solution that would protect working people from exploitation and abuse at work.

Imposing new threats of additional costs and fines on people who by definition have already lost their jobs sends a clear signal to bad employers that the government is looking the other way.

Big business lobby groups like AMMA and the IPA have long been advocating new hurdles to deny workers access to unfair dismissal protection.

This suggestion comes on the back of another proposal for an amnesty covering all historic theft of superannuation. 

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“This will be a green light for unfair dismissals with bad bosses emboldened by the knowledge that there are even more hurdles for a worker to jump if they are unfairly dismissed.

“Working people need effective and accessible legal protection for against unfair dismissal. This is fundamental to job security.

“This Government is taking a hard line against working people with another much softer touch for business.  It’s making jobs less secure and that’s making it even harder to end the wage crisis.

“We call on the Minister to abandon this proposal and work constructively to address the serious issues Australia faces with insecure work and a wages crisis entering its seventh year.”