Is the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill — that’s the bill that, based on the last time the ABCC existed, will cause construction sector productivity to fall and industry workplace fatalities to rise — actually going to be voted on this year? This is the bill, remember, on which Malcolm Turnbull based his double dissolution election and that he says is critical to the Australian economy. But yesterday’s draft legislative program for the Senate for next week’s sitting doesn’t include the ABCC bill. And after that sitting, there are only two weeks of sittings left at the end of the month before Parliament rises for the year. Turnbull this morning refused to say if the bill would come on for a vote this year, only that he was still negotiating with the (ever-diminishing) crossbench and it would only be brought on for a vote when the support was there for it. It’s a strange sort of urgent, economically important bill that could be allowed to slide until next February because the government is scared it might be voted down and will require a joint sitting to pass…

Peter Fray

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