By David Bates

I had high hopes for the current Employment Minister, Senator Michaelia Cash. Many employers did. She seemed like a Minister on top of her brief, someone who genuinely understood all that’s so deeply wrong with Australia’s hopelessly complex employment laws and, just as importantly, someone with the ability to quickly begin putting things right.

And then came the last federal election. An election which had been called because of the Senate’s refusal to pass the Coalition’s Bill re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). 

You would have thought an election triggered by contentious employment-related legislation would have seen the Employment Minister given a very high-profile role during the grinding, eight-week long campaign.

But, no, the Employment Minister went missing in action. An election which could have been fought on the need to restore the rule of law on construction sites, end union thuggery and corruption, and finally provide small business owners with the flexibility they so desperately need and deserve was completely overshadowed by Labor’s so-called ‘Mediscare’ campaign.

There’s a word to describe the Coalition’s last federal campaign: pathetic.

And now, the icing on the cake. 

For at least two years now, employers and unions (yes, both sides!) have been calling on the Minister to amend the law to prevent Enterprise Agreement applications being thrown out because of minor errors made during the negotiation process. In some cases, for example, Agreements which had taken over a year to finalise were rejected by the Fair Work Commission because employees had been given the wrong website address to visit for more information. There’s a word for that too: ridiculous.

This week, the Minister (finally) announced the laws will be changed. Hallelujah. 

But if it takes this long for the Minister to approve minor amendments which are supported by both employers and unions, what hope is there of her making those other vital changes small businesses need and which unions violently oppose? Not much.

So, folks, it looks like this is as good as it gets. 

No other developed country on Earth expects small business owners to read and comply with endless pages of incomprehensible, union-friendly, pro-employee rules and regulations. 

No other developed county on Earth forces its small business owners to justify the dismissal of their employees before a tribunal comprised mostly of former trade union officials with no legal qualifications.

And no other developed country on Earth would allow their parliamentarians and unelected bureaucrats to suffocate small businesses with the kinds of inane and illogical laws and regulations employers routinely face here in Australia. 

My high hopes are well and truly dashed.