Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Statutory Rules 1995 No. 434

Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Industrial Relations

Industrial Relations Act 1988

Industrial Relations Regulations (Amendment)

Section 359 of the Industrial Relations Act 1968 (the Act) provides that the Governor-General may make regulations for the purposes of the Act.

The Regulations:

       extend the existing exclusion of Australian Federal Police employees from the coverage of the unfair termination provisions of the Act; and,

       set out the powers and procedures of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (the Commission) in relation to the new consent arbitration jurisdiction.

Regulation 3 extends the operation of Regulation 30BB until 1 January 1997. Regulation 30BB currently excludes persons employed under the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 from the unfair termination provisions of the Act until 1 January 1996.

The existing exclusion was made in recognition of the special problems which arose for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) where a termination was due to corruption or serious misconduct. The exclusion was to allow for an agreement to be reached between the Commissioner of the AFP and AFP employee representatives on the appropriate application of the unfair termination provisions. An agreement has been reached and will be given effect to once the Australian Federal Police Amendment Bill 1995 (AFP Bill) becomes law. Regulation 30BB will be repeated as soon possible after the AFP Bill becomes operative.

New Regulations 30DAA and 30DAB are necessary due to new unfair dismissal procedures which were introduced in the Industrial Relations and other Legislation Amendment Act 1995. The new procedures allow the parties to agree that a particular unfair dismissal matter will be dealt with by a consent arbitration conducted by the Commission.

Consent arbitration is a voluntary process whereby parties may agree to have a Commissioner provide an arbitrated settlement in relation to an unfair dismissal application. If the parties agree to use consent arbitration they must also agree to be bound by the arbitration's processes and outcome.

Subsection 170EC(3) of the Act provides that the procedures to be followed and the powers to be exercised by the Commission in conducting a consent arbitration are to be prescribed. Subsection 170EC(3) of the Act also provides that such procedures and powers are to be consistent with the terms of the International Labour Organisation's Termination of Employment Convention (the Convention).

Regulation 30DAA prescribes the powers and procedures to be utilised in conducting a consent arbitration. These powers and procedures are based upon the Commission's existing powers and procedures with rasped to industrial disputes which are set out in sections 110 and 111 of the Act. Modifications which recognise the distinct nature of consent arbitration proceedings and which ensure consistency with the terms of the Convention have been made.

Section 170ECA of the Act provides that appeals are only available with the leave of the Commission. Paragraph 170ECA(1)(b) further provides that the ground for an appeal to a Full Bench of the Commission in a consent arbitration is to be prescribed.

Regulation 30DAB provides that the ground of appeal is to be that the Commission was in error in deciding to make a consent arbitration award.

Regulation 3 commences when the Regulations are Gazetted.

Regulation 4 will commence on the same date as the consent arbitration provisions of the Act Those provisions are expected to commence, by Proclamation, on 15 January 1996.

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