Union leaders trash rule of law


| John Lloyd

Union leaders trash rule of law

"The rule of law is fundamental to the effective functioning of the workplace relations system. Victorian nurses have today chosen to defy an injunction granted by the Federal Court of Australia. The silence of the ACTU and the Gillard Government is disturbing and undermines respect for the rule of law," said John Lloyd, Director, Work Reform and Productivity at the Institute of Public Affairs.

"The ACTU and unions vilify any employer who breaches their obligations under workplace relations laws. In contrast, the unlawful actions of the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) over recent weeks do not appear to have attracted any criticism from the ACTU.

"The ANF and its members have openly defied orders of Fair Work Australia on numerous occasions. The orders were issued pursuant to the Fair Work Act 2009," said Mr Lloyd.

On 28 February 2012 the Federal Court of Australia granted an injunction against the unlawful industrial action.

Today, nurses have taken the extraordinary step of defying a Federal Court injunction. Their actions indicate that they consider themselves to be above the law. This can expose them to contempt of court proceedings and substantial penalties. Surely, it is time for the ACTU to show leadership and speak out.

We are regularly told that nurses play a crucial role that involves them in delicate decisions with medical, ethical and legal ramifications. It is unacceptable that some nurses chose to defy the law in an area that suits them. It is to be hoped that such a cavalier attitude to the law will not transfer to other areas of their endeavours.

"The ACTU, the ANF and the Gillard Government should demand an immediate cessation of any unlawful conduct," said Mr Lloyd.

Media Comment: John Lloyd, Director Work Reform and Productivity Unit, 0417 130 634



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