Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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A Bill for an Act to ensure that minimum standards about workers’ rights are included in certain international agreements, and for related purposes
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Registered 25 Jun 2013
Introduced Senate 20 Jun 2013

2010‑2011‑2012‑2013

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fair Trade (Workers’ Rights) Bill 2013

 

No.      , 2013

 

(Senator Madigan)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to ensure that minimum standards about workers’ rights are included in certain international agreements, and for related purposes

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                             1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

3............ Objects................................................................................................ 2

4............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

Part 2—Minimum standards about workers’ rights                                        3

5............ Trade Agreements and domestic law of parties must include minimum standards about workers’ rights                3

6............ Minimum wage fixing recommendation.............................................. 4

7............ Meaning of Trade Agreement............................................................. 4

8............ Meaning of minimum standards about workers’ rights....................... 5

 


A Bill for an Act to ensure that minimum standards about workers’ rights are included in certain international agreements, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1Preliminary

  

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Fair Trade (Workers’ Rights) Act 2013.

2  Commencement

                   This Act commences on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent.

3  Objects

                   It is the object of this Act to encourage Australia’s trading partners to ensure that workers in their country are protected by certain internationally accepted minimum standards about workers’ rights.

4  Definitions

                   In this Act:

minimum standards about workers’ rights has the meaning given in section 8.

minimum wage fixing recommendation has the meaning given in subsection 6(3).

Trade Agreement has the meaning given in section 7.


 

Part 2Minimum standards about workers’ rights

  

5  Trade Agreements and domestic law of parties must include minimum standards about workers’ rights

             (1)  Prior to entering into a new Trade Agreement, or amending an existing Trade Agreement, the Commonwealth must ensure that:

                     (a)  the Trade Agreement includes a binding agreement that the other country, or countries, has or have, minimum standards about workers’ rights in their domestic law; and

                     (b)  the Minister has satisfied himself or herself that:

                              (i)  as a question of fact, the other country, or countries, has or have, minimum standards about workers’ rights in their domestic law; or

                             (ii)  in practice, workers in the other country, or countries, are subject to employment standards that are at least equal to the minimum standards about workers’ rights.

Note:          A country that does not include minimum standards about workers’ rights in their domestic law may satisfy the requirement in subparagraph (b)(ii) if the Minister is satisfied that the industrial relations system in that country includes protections that ensure that, in practice, the workers’ enjoy employment standards that are at least equal to the minimum standards about workers’ rights.

             (2)  The Commonwealth must not enter into a Trade Agreement with a country, or a group of countries, if:

                     (a)  the agreement does not include a binding agreement that the other country, or countries, has or have, minimum standards about workers’ rights in their domestic law; or

                     (b)  the Minister has not satisfied himself or herself that either of the following apply:

                              (i)  as a question of fact, the other country, or countries, has or have, minimum standards about workers’ rights in their domestic law; or

                             (ii)  in practice, workers in the other country, or countries, are subject to employment standards that are at least equal to the minimum standards about workers’ rights.

6  Minimum wage fixing recommendation

             (1)  Prior to entering into a new Trade Agreement, or amending an existing Trade Agreement, the Commonwealth must endeavour to include a binding requirement in the Trade Agreement requiring the other country, or countries, to include standards in their domestic law that are at least equal to the standards in the minimum wage fixing recommendation.

             (2)  If the Commonwealth fails to include a binding requirement in the agreement requiring the other country, or countries, to include standards in their domestic law that are at least equal to the standards in the minimum wage fixing recommendation, the Minister must:

                     (a)  prepare a written explanation as to why he or she did not believe that it was necessary to include such requirement in the Trade Agreement; and

                     (b)  within 30 days of the date that the Trade Agreement was entered into, table the written explanation in both Houses of the Parliament.

             (3)  For the purposes of this Act, minimum wage fixing recommendation means the minimum standards set out in the International Labour Organization Recommendation concerning Minimum Wage Fixing with Special Reference to Developing Countries done at Geneva on June 1970.

Note:          The text of the minimum wage fixing memorandum is set out in the Australian Treaty Series. In 2013, the text of a Convention in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).

7  Meaning of Trade Agreement

                   An international agreement is a Trade Agreement for the purpose of this Act if it is an international agreement that the Commonwealth has, or will, enter into with the government of another country, or with the governments of a group of countries, that will abolish or decrease tariffs (or other import charges) that are levied or charged by Australia at the time goods are imported into Australia.

Note 1:       An international agreement may be entered into by way of entering into a treaty or memorandum of understanding with the other country, or by exchange of letters with that country, or in any other way that gives rise to a binding agreement between Australia and the other country for the purposes of international law.

Note 2:       An international agreement negotiated under a framework provided by the World Trade Organisation or the United Nations is a Trade Agreement for the purpose of this Act.

8  Meaning of minimum standards about workers’ rights

                   For the purposes of this Act, minimum standards about workers’ rights means the minimum standards set out in each of the following conventions:

                     (a)  the Convention concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise done at San Francisco on 9 July 1948 ([1974] ATS 3);

                     (b)  the Convention concerning the Application of the Principles of the Right to Organise and to Bargain Collectively done at Geneva on 1 July 1949 ([1974] ATS 5);

                     (c)  the Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation done at Geneva on 25 June 1958 ([1974] ATS 12);

                     (d)  the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour done at Geneva on 17 June 1999 ([2007] ATS 38);

                     (e)  the Convention concerning the Reduction of Hours of Work to Forty a Week done at Geneva on 22 June 1935 ([1971] ATS 20);

                      (f)  the Convention concerning Occupational Safety and Health and the Working Environment done at Geneva on 22 June 1981 ([2005] ATS 11);

                     (g)  the Convention concerning the Application of the Weekly Rest in Industrial Undertakings done at Geneva on 18 November 1921;

                     (h)  the Convention concerning Weekly Rest in Commerce and Offices done at Geneva on 26 June 1957.

Note:   The text of the Conventions in paragraphs (a) to (f) are set out in the Australian Treaty Series. In 2013, the text of a Convention in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).