Buswell sniffs union conspiracies

Troy Buswell, the Western Australia minister responsible for OHS, has dug in his heels in over opposition to the Federal Government’s move for harmonised OHS legislation.

Ahead of the Workplace Relations Minister’s meeting on 25 September 2009, Buswell has reiterated his government’s opposition to changes to OHS law.  He argues that the OHS changes are not necessary for Western Australia as the existing laws ar fair and balanced.

This may be the case but it is significant that the opposition has only come as a result of a change of government to the conservatives.  The proposed OHS laws haven’t changed over that time.  Buswell goes on to accuse the unions of having the opportunity to have backroom deals with the Australian (Labor) government which allow unacceptable union access.  There is no doubt that unions have more access to the current Federal government than under the previous conservative but, as has been reported in SafetyAtWorkBlog and elsewhere, the unions are as frustrated over access as other lobbyists.

Rather than letting the 25 September meeting slide by with a “communique” coming out next week, Buswell has given the meeting some prominence.  He has also put himself in a difficult position from where compromise may be uncomfortable.

Many observers have been focusing on the opposition to the OHS laws from the New South Wales union sector but that State has a Labor government.  The passionate opposition is obviously on the other side of the country, an areas that those in the East Coast States often ignore.  But not at the moment.

Kevin Jones

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