There’s been no shortage of bad news served up to Queensland workers since the Newman Government swept to power. Recently though, we had a win.
As you may or may not know, the Newman Government announced sweeping changes to the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld) in July last year.
One change would have required all Queensland unions to ballot members before spending $10,000 or more for political purposes.
What these laws would have meant:
- If we wanted to put up a billboard to campaign to protect the jobs of school cleaners or health workers, we would have to ballot all members, even those completely unaffected by the issue.
- To produce flyers and then to letterbox electorates to oppose the Government for ripping away rights and conditions in Awards and Agreements, we would have to ballot all members.
- If we wanted to phone poll members on your views about Government policies that impacted you, we would have to ballot all members to ask if it was ok to phone to ask the questions, and so on.
Each ballot would have cost the union in excess of $150,000 – making the process largely prohibitive.
Additionally, ballots would have had to remain open for a minimum of five days and would have seriously impacted our ability to respond quickly to the political events that affect our members.
United Voice was one of a group of unions that started proceedings against the proposed change in the High Court, arguing that the amendments were unconstitutional.
Shortly after, the Newman Government repealed the change to the act – meaning we’ll still be able to move quickly when campaigning for political change to help our members. They were also ordered by the High Court to pay court costs for the unions involved.
It was an excellent result and one that will help United Voice Queensland keep campaigning for change on behalf of our members.