The Morrison Government’s anti-union bill, which would have restricted ANMF members’ ability to protect and improve patient care, has failed to pass the Senate.
Labor, the Greens, One Nation Senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts, and Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie all voted against the ensuring integrity bill. The vote was tied 34-34.
The bill would have made it easier to shut down unions, disqualify union officials and force union members to resign from their union.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese visited the ANMF (Vic Branch) office the morning after the shock vote to celebrate the defeated bill with nurses, midwives and carers.
ANMF members have taken unprotected action multiple times to save nurse/midwife patient ratios. If the ensuring integrity bill had been passed such action would have placed the ANMF, its elected officials and its members at risk of harsh penalties.
Federal ANMF Secretary Annie Butler thanked the politicians who stood up for workers across the country, including nurses, midwives and carers who wanted their union ‘to be able to make their work safe, their work decent and their work good for our community’.
Mr Albanese said the Morrison Government’s failure to pass the bill was a win for ‘rank and file’ trade union members and a win for a country that valued a fair go.
‘Without trade unions you’ll have more wage theft, you’ll have more occupational health and safety issues, including more fatalities on worksites,’ he said.
‘You’ll have lower wages, you’ll have less conditions and less quality of life, you’ll have more issues in areas like mental health.
‘We need trade unions to be respected as playing an important role in civil society.
‘Have a look behind me and what I see is nurses committed to making a difference,’ Mr Albanese said, ‘What the government said was that “they’re thugs”.’
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus thanked union members across Australia, including nurses, midwives and carers, for their campaign to ensure the crossbench Senators understood how the bill would impact ordinary people.
‘This campaign has shown that union members work in all parts of Australia, doing all kinds of jobs and are all kinds of people. Union members stand up for secure work, fair pay and decent treatment both in our workplaces and our communities,’ she said.