Home » Australia Politics Live: Gina Rinehart‘s Company Pushes For Mining Sector To Be Excluded From Multi-Employer Bargaining

Australia Politics Live: Gina Rinehart‘s Company Pushes For Mining Sector To Be Excluded From Multi-Employer Bargaining

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Hancock Prospecting wants mining companies excluded from multi-employer bargaining

Paul Karp

Gina Rinehart‘s company Hancock Prospecting has made a submission to the Senate employment committee’s inquiry into Labor’s industrial relations bill.

It said:

As it stands, this bill puts at risk not only the interests of mining workers, but the broader economic benefits and tax and royalty revenues the mining industry makes possible. At a minimum, the mining sector must be excluded from multi-employer bargaining.

The mining industry does not fit the profile of an industry where employees are poorly paid, where real wages are falling and where there is a lack of job security, which as we understand it are key issues which the proposed government legislation is attempting to address.

On the contrary, if the legislation is applied to the mining industry it will have significant negative impacts on a high-performing industry (including with respect to real wages), it will reduce future investment and growth, negatively impact productivity, our export competitiveness and most importantly damage our employees’ interests including future jobs and wages.”

The workplace relations minister, Tony Burke, has repeatedly refused to exempt the mining industry from multi-employer bargaining.

Burke has noted miners on the east coast already have enterprise agreements, meaning they would not be drawn in to multi-employer bargaining; and that miners on the west coast are unlikely to be drawn in because the same majority support processes apply to multi-employer bargaining as enterprise bargaining.

Basically, if everyone on individual contracts on the west coast are well paid and vote against an EA, they won’t vote to join a multi-employer pay deal either.

Gina Rinehart‘s company Hancock Prospecting has made a submission to the Senate employment committee’s inquiry into Labor’s industrial relations bill.

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It said:

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As it stands, this bill puts at risk not only the interests of mining workers, but the broader economic benefits and tax and royalty revenues the mining industry makes possible. At a minimum, the mining sector must be excluded from multi-employer bargaining.

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The mining industry does not fit the profile of an industry where employees are poorly paid, where real wages are falling and where there is a lack of job security, which as we understand it are key issues which the proposed government legislation is attempting to address.

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On the contrary, if the legislation is applied to the mining industry it will have significant negative impacts on a high-performing industry (including with respect to real wages), it will reduce future investment and growth, negatively impact productivity, our export competitiveness and most importantly damage our employees’ interests including future jobs and wages.”

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The workplace relations minister, Tony Burke, has repeatedly refused to exempt the mining industry from multi-employer bargaining.

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Burke has noted miners on the east coast already have enterprise agreements, meaning they would not be drawn in to multi-employer bargaining; and that miners on the west coast are unlikely to be drawn in because the same majority support processes apply to multi-employer bargaining as enterprise bargaining.

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Basically, if everyone on individual contracts on the west coast are well paid and vote against an EA, they won’t vote to join a multi-employer pay deal either.

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The Senate is set to work extended hours, and to sit on Fridays in a rare move, to slog through a backlog of pending government legislation.

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The Greens say they’ll back the government’s plans to keep the upper house sitting longer than originally scheduled, with the final two weeks of parliament to consider the national anti-corruption commission, the industrial relations legislation, childcare, [email protected] and the territory rights euthanasia legislation.

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A Greens spokesperson said their partyroom meeting had agreed to back the government’s push to keep the Senate sitting this Friday and next (the parliament usually only runs Monday to Thursday), and sit until 9.30pm tonight and 7.30pm on Thursday.

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It could also mean next Friday, now the final scheduled day of sitting for 2022, could go very late. Several government sources said there had been some talk of calling the Senate back to sit on Saturday – but the Greens said this wasn’t in the agreement they had decided to back.

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The amendments to the sitting schedule also include rules that mandate only the consideration of government bills at certain points, guaranteeing more time for those bills to be debated.

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The manager of government business in the Senate, Katy Gallagher, had proposed a motion where the Senate would sit midday until 9.30pm today, then 9am to 7.30pm on Thursday; and 9am until adjournment on Friday.

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The Greens spokesperson said negotiations continued on the IR legislation, but that they were “confident” it would reach a resolution where the party would support the government. They want to avoid “unintentional consequences” but said they didn’t necessarily support splitting the bill up, as has been advocated by some other crossbenchers like David Pocock.

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The Greens said they’re having “good discussions” with the government on IR, but had concerns they wanted resolved.

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Australia’s national floral emblem, the golden wattle, has had its DNA entirely sequenced for the first time.

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Scientists at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV) have sequenced the genome of the golden wattle, Acacia pycnantha.

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Todd McLay, a postdoctoral fellow at RBGV, said the process took just over three years. He said in a statement:

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The golden wattle DNA was sequenced into millions of fragments that were then assembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle using high-performance computing housed in the National Herbarium of Victoria …

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With advancements in technology, it is getting faster to do this type of work.

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The plant’s genome consists of 814m DNA bases, with nearly 48,000 genes. The human genome has around 3bn base pairs.

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The researchers hope their genomic decoding could aid future research into golden wattle conservation, breeding and plant disease research.

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Other Australian plants that have had their genomes sequenced include the blue gum, macadamia and waratah.

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The research was published in the journal Plos One.

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The independent MP for Mackellar, Dr Sophie Scamps, wants the government to look further afield for inspiration on how to fix the petrol resources rent tax (PRRT) – to Norway.

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Scamps wants Australia to explore long term oil and gas reform:

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If we look internationally for inspiration, the Norwegian ministry of finance estimates that revenue from Norway’s oil and gas export profits tax will reach $209bn in 2023 alone. The fund, which is built on the back of fossil fuel tax revenue, is now worth $1.8tn, or the equivalent of $1.4m per Norwegian family of four.

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Norway’s approach to resource taxation is based on the premise that natural resources in the ground belong to all Norwegians, not just the companies that are extracting them. In the 1990s Norway implemented a 56% petroleum tax, in addition to the country’s flat corporate tax rate. This was met with strong resistance from fossil fuel companies who ran a scare campaign claiming jobs would be lost and investment would head overseas.

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However the Norwegian government held their nerve and stared down the fossil fuel industry’s lobbyists. Despite the scare campaign, the industry continues to invest in Norway.

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While Norwegians are now set up for the future, the story of how Australia has managed our vast natural resources is different. Australia’s PRRT was as high as 19% of total oil and gas sector revenue in 1992. But this had declined to just 1% in 2020. Similarly, the amount of corporate tax paid by the sector declined from 15% in the mid-1990s to 2% in 2020.

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The Greens and the government have agreed on amendments to the Treasury laws amendment (electric car discount) bill 2022 that prioritises electric vehicles over plug-in hybrids that rely on petrol. The agreement also includes shifting the commonwealth fleet to electric vehicles.

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The Greens leader and climate change spokesperson, Adam Bandt, has been negotiating with the government in recent weeks to limit funding to petrol-powered hybrids and to increase support for electric vehicles. Without the Greens’ votes in the Senate, the government was unable to pass the bill.

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The government has agreed to support changes to the bill that will limit the support for plug-in hybrids and prioritise full electric vehicles, including:

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  • Sunsetting support for petrol-based plug-in hybrids on 1 April 2025.

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  • Prioritising zero-emission electric vehicles in the Australian government fleet procurement policy, by removing plug-in hybrid vehicles except in exceptional circumstances.

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The ATO will issue guidance on when household charging technology is able to be included within FBT-exempt vehicle packages.

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With the amendments sought by Bandt secured, Greens senators will support the EV bill being passed by the Senate this week.

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Consumer sentiment rose for a second week in a row, according to the latest weekly survey by ANZ and Roy Morgan.

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That’s despite the Reserve Bank’s record run of seven consecutive interest rate rises in as many months.

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As ANZ’s chief Australian economist, David Plank, notes, there’s a contrast between sentiment remaining at levels last seen during the early weeks of Covid pandemic but the bank’s own data suggest shoppers’ spending “has remained strong”.

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There was even a jump in whether “it is a good time to buy a major household item” may signal sentiment regarding purchases on Black Friday this week. (It’s linked to the timing of Thanksgiving in the US, in case you’re wondering.)

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Inflation expectations continue to hover if not decline – which is a good thing since a spiral higher is what the RBA would most not want to see.

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The recent high fuel prices eased back a bit last week and that might have helped douse inflation worries.

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Average retail prices were 193.7 cents a litre, down 5.2 cents on the previous week. The wholesale price was little changed at 178.7 cents – implying the servos took a smaller margin, the Australian Institute of Petroleum data showed.

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As for what investors think the RBA will do when its board next meets on 6 December, the odds seem stacked (two in three) in favour of an eighth rate rise in a row.

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So far, though, the economy seems on that narrow path of maintaining confidence, absorbing higher debt repayments without shedding jobs. (In fact the jobless rate fell in October to 3.4%, matching 48-year lows.)

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Dominic Perrottet jumps in at that:

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Can I just add to that? It’s not just those one-off payments for individuals and households. There is a range of financial support packages available.

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So for primary producers up to $75,000, which is commonwealth and state funded there are a range of initiatives in place and we will do everything we can to ensure that everyone gets back on their feet.

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In relation to insurance companies, I’ll just make the point that I’ve spoken last week to the Insurance Council of Australia and insurances companies should put people before profits. And we’ll work very closely with them, the commonwealth and state, to make sure that that support and if we need to look at innovative products for insurance companies and the Insurance Council of Australia, to get it done.

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Anthony Albanese is holding his press conference with Dominic Perrottet in the central west New South Wales town of Eugowra.

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He opens with:

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I have been with the Premier, Dominic Perrottet, today, and the local MPs and local council representatives here in Eugowra, a town that has been devastated. A town where two lives were lost and one in three of this town, some 159 people, were rescued, either by a chopper or by boat, a town that’s been devastated and we’ve seen that today. But it’s a town that’s resilient. It’s a town where people want to rebuild this town and this community. And it’s quite inspirational seeing the courage and resilience of the people in this fantastic local community.

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I want to thank all the people who’ve come in, whether they be ADF personnel on the ground straightaway, SES, the resilience people from the New South Wales Government, Federal Government representatives and volunteers from all around New South Wales who have come into this local community to hose out a home, help out locals, and remove debris. It’s been quite extraordinary, the effort that we are seeing here.

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This morning, we’re announcing a joint Commonwealth-State further support for disaster recovery. Grants of up to $50,000, the first $25,000 of which can be paid very quickly, and a further $25,000 upon receipts being shown. That is eligible for all small businesses here in this community, but also for not-for-profit organisations.

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This is Commonwealth and State jointly working together. That’s what people want to see. And I want to thank Dominic. We had conversations and text messages over the last week about these issues. I pay tribute to the cooperation that’s there between the Commonwealth and the State Government. This is about working together. And the local mayor showing us around has done an extraordinary job representing his local community as well.

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Anthony Albanese has arrived in flood-hit Eugowra. The prime minister touched down in an army helicopter at the Eugowra showgrounds about 8.30am. The showgrounds are acting as an evacuation and support centre for locals. He met with the New South Wales premier, Dominic Perr