Greens MP and employment spokesperson Adam Bandt says the government lacked courage to remove coercive powers from the controversial Australian Building and Construction Commission. Mr Bandt said the government accepted some changes to the laws but unfortunately the bill that passed the house failed to restore equal rights to workers in the industry.
Bandt unsuccessfully moved amendments to remove the coercive powers. He also tried to limit the powers to more serious offences carrying a penalty of 12 months imprisonment.
However the Greens were able to negotiate changes to the legislation to remove double jeopardy provisions, which previously meant workers were able to be prosecuted for the same breaches twice.
Mr Bandt said "it was disappointing the government would not budge on the coercive powers despite have cross-bench support to do so. The only reason these coercive powers remain is because the government wanted to retain them."
"We have just missed a great opportunity to restore rights taken away by John Howard."
"This bill means if go to work in a hard hat and boots you still have fewer rights than people who wear a suit and a tie."
"In a democracy, people in the building industry shouldn't have fewer rights than accused criminals."
"People shouldn't fear being hauled into secret inquisitions and forced to 'name names' under threat of imprisonment. That's McCarthyism."