Today is the second day of the Senate committee on the government’s hastily assembled corrupting benefits amendment bill. The bill would mean fines of $4.5 million imposed on businesses or that make “sweetheart deals” with unions — some of the highest penalties for businesses in the country. Maybe that’s why they didn’t ask businesses (or seemingly anyone) what they thought, and have put forward laws that don’t seem to please anyone.

Yesterday, industrial relations professor Andrew Stewart said the wording of the bill was “either too wide or too uncertain or both” (concerns Crikey has previously reported on). The ACTU complained in its submission that there had been no consultation with stakeholders, and the representatives of employer peak bodies Australian Industry Group and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry confirmed today that the government didn’t ask it for a view either. So who exactly told the government these laws were necessary?

Peter Fray

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