- Date opened
- Date closed
- The Australian Government is considering repealing the 2020 amendments to the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (RO Act) made by the former Coalition government about the withdrawal of a constituent part from an amalgamated organisation.
- Specifically, the Government is considering limiting the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) capacity to accept applications for a ballot of members of a constituent part of a registered organisation to withdraw, where that application is made more than five years after amalgamation. Applications would need to be made no less than 2 years and no more than 5 years after amalgamation.
- Some amendments made in 2020 provide clarity and obligations on the constituent part and amalgamated organisation, including in relation to the transfer of members to the constituent part upon registration as an organisation, and modernising the ballot process to allow a secret ballot to be conducted other than as a postal ballot. These provisions may be retained.
Principles guiding consideration of this measure include:
- Any changes to the RO Act should aim to restore and clarify the long-standing requirement in previous iterations of that Act that an application for a ballot to withdraw from the amalgamation must be made within 2 to 5 years after the amalgamation occurred.
- Any changes to the RO Act should restore the previous definition and understanding of a constituent part that is able to withdraw from amalgamation to only those parts associated with a previous organisation deregistered in connection with forming the amalgamated organisation. The 2020 amendments mean any branch, division, or part of an amalgamated organisation that is separately identifiable under organisation rules may be a constituent part.
- Should transitional arrangements be put in place to preserve processes associated with withdrawal applications that are currently on foot?
- What is an appropriate amount of time that should pass before a constituent part can no longer apply to withdraw from an amalgamated organisation?
- Should the definition of ‘separately identifiable constituent part’ revert to mean only those parts associated with a previous organisation deregistered in connection with the formation of the amalgamated organisation?
- Should other amendments made in 2020 be retained, including those that impose additional obligations on the constituent part and amalgamated organisation in relation to:
- The name and rules of the constituent part and amended name and rules of the amalgamated organisation and when they take effect.
- The conduct of ballots to withdraw from an amalgamation, including allowing secret ballots to not only be allowed to be conducted as a secret postal ballot and permitting an officer of the constituent part to conduct the ballot.
- The transfer of members to the constituent part upon registration as an organisation.
- The matters the Federal Court must take into account when apportioning assets/liabilities.