By Bella Fitzpatrick
Sophie Mirabella is the controversial former MP for the seat of Indi in Victoria. While she was in Parliament from 2001 – 2013, she was a main supporter of John Howard’s Work Choices, a filthy attempt to undermine the rights of workers and restrict the activity of unions.
Now, rumours are swirling that she may be appointed to the position of Commissioner on the Fair Work Commission, a job which should be about protecting the rights of workers.
Naturally, Christian Porter, who just recently was trying to pass the IR Omnibus Bill and wreck the rights of the workers in this country, is also responsible for the ridiculous suggestion that Ms Mirabella would be a good fit for the role.
Putting Sophie Mirabella on the Fair Work Commission would be like letting the fox guard the henhouse, and should send a shiver down the spine of every Australian worker.
The appointment threatens to both stack the Fair Work Commission with the blatant political appointment of an ex-Liberal MP, and discredit the Commission in one fell swoop. Ms Mirabella once described John Howard’s Work Choices as “big but fair” and “significant but necessary” and now she is about to be let off the leash and straight at your rights in the workplace.
The Fair Work Commission is intended to contain a balance of the voices of employer and employee representatives. But the Liberals have been stacking the Commission with employers for eight years, and now the voices of conservatives threaten to drown out the voices of workers all together.
To add insult to injury, if Ms Mirabella is appointed as a Commissioner, her annual salary will be $387,000 of tax payers money. The idea that the Australian people would be paying for Ms Mirabella to take a sledgehammer to our rights in the workplace is frankly disgusting.
This comes while the Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission Gerard Boyce is facing investigation over claims he set off illegal firecrackers during a work function, on Commission grounds.
Mr Boyce has previously been the subject of a Senate estimates hearing for having scantily-clad anime figurines on the shelves and a life-size Donald Trump cutout in his office, and setting up surveillance of his colleagues.
This kind of behaviour is exactly what we should expect when the government appoints people based on their ideology and their buddy-buddy friendships, rather than on competence, expertise or character.
His salary is $470,000 per year of tax payers money.
It is frankly shameful that this kind of clownery, and Ms Mirabella’s kind of blatant anti-worker rhetoric is being allowed to slide in the Commission that should uphold the highest standards of conduct and protect the rights of Australians in their workplace.
How can we trust these people to resolve workplace disputes with the best interests of everyday workers at heart when they are clearly so distanced from their fellow Australians? How can we trust Sophie Mirabella to sit on the Fair Work Commission when she is so clearly bent on setting back the rights of workers, restricting the activities of trade unions, and screwing all of us over?
CFMEU WA State Secretary Mick Buchan has expressed his dismay and disgust at the possibility of her appointment.
“Sophie Mirabella is an example of exactly the kind of person who should not be allowed anywhere near the Fair Work Commission.”
“Anyone who supported Work Choices clearly has all the wrong ideas about how industrial relations should work, and doesn’t have the best interests of workers at heart.”
“It is shameful to see this Government trying to appoint one of their own party to the Fair Work Commission, let alone Ms. Mirabella. This blatant attempt to stack the Commission with Liberal bootlickers is an attack on the purpose of the Commission, and an attack on every Australian worker.”