Labor senators will attempt to make sure the ruling is upheld for mining industry workers.
Labor senators will attempt to make sure the ruling is upheld for mining industry workers.

Senators take stand against court appeal

THREE Queensland senators will today call on the Federal Government to withdraw its support for a High Court appeal that they say threatens the permanent working status of full-time mine workers.

In May this year, the Federal Court handed down a decision in the case of WorkPac v Rossato, finding that a person could be identified as a "casual" by an employer but still be considered a permanent employee and entitled to permanent entitlements if they work regular and predictable shifts.

Labor hire firm WorkPac launched the appeal in June to challenge the casual employment ruling, warning it could cost the business millions.

Senators Murray Watt and Nita Green in Townsville. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Senators Murray Watt and Nita Green in Townsville. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

Cairns-based senator Nita Green, shadow spokesman for Northern Australia Murray Watt and Senator Anthony Chisholm will move a motion calling on the government to withdraw its support for the High Court appeal.

Attorney-General and Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has previously said the government would support the appeal.

"Given the significance of the full Federal Court's decision, I can confirm, as I indicated the day after the decision that the government will intervene in the appeal to the High Court," Mr Porter said in June.

"This full Federal Court decision has caused confusion and uncertainty and has the potential to expose businesses to significant financial liability during a period where businesses are facing their greatest ever challenge." Ms Green said North Queensland MPs George Christensen and Phillip Thompson needed to decide whose side they were on - coal miners or mining bosses.

"If they really do support mine workers, they will join with Labor and call on the Morrison Government to withdraw support from a court case which threatens to rob mine workers of the security, protections and leave entitlements of permanent work," she said.

"For too long, big mining companies have been using casual, labour hire contracts for miners working regular full-time hours.

"The LNP wants to treat miners as 'permanent casuals' with worse pay and conditions, even after casual loadings are included.

"Labor believes that when a job is full-time, regular and ongoing, it is permanent and deserves the security and entitlements that come with permanent work.

"It's fundamentally unfair for mine workers."

Originally published as Senators take stand against court appeal


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