There’s now clarity on what Albanese’s Labor intends to do to self-employed small business people if elected. Labor intends to attack us.
The ALP Secure Jobs Plan says:
“Labor will extend the powers of the Fair Work Commission to include ‘employee-like’ forms of work…” Labor intends to attack “…new forms of work such as gig work.”
Last Monday (2 May) this was further made clear at an Albanese street-walk rally in Brisbane. The Australian Financial Review reports from the rally that Labor will legislate to invent new law that says that self-employed people are a ‘little bit’ an employee, like being ‘a little bit pregnant’. It’s clear that the policy is directed at giving unions control over gig workers and any other self-employed person they choose to target. Hairdressers, for example!
The policy is a direct lift from the Californian law called AB5, introduced in early 2020. It was a job killer which hit the most vulnerable self-employed people. Think of single mums running their own transcription business from home! Closed down! There are thousands of examples.
The United Kingdom has an old 1986 ‘little bit pregnant/employee’ independent contractor law. This was used by the UK transport union in 2021 to attack gig ride-sharing. It’s thrown commercial contracts into chaos in the UK.
Albanese’s Labor says it wants to do ‘nice’ things such as giving ‘little-bit-employee’ self-employed people access to collective bargaining, superannuation and the minimum wage. But this is a beat-up.
Self-employed people (us) already have easy access to collective bargaining authorised under competition laws. Superannuation is clearly required when an individual, self-employed persons (not structured as a P/L company) works for a business. The Independent Contractors Act requires that independent contractors should not be paid less than employees.
The truth is that self-employed people are protected under commercial law regulations. Think of the unfair contract laws. Albanese’s Labor wants to drag us into the mess of union-controlled industrial relations law. Forget it!
And quite recently the Australian High Court reaffirmed that self-employed people operate under commercial law. The Court also stated that UK-type (little-bit-employee) laws are not part of Australian law.
Further, the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations body, declared in 2006 that national laws should not interfere in the commercial relationships of independent contractors.
The Albanese plan defies international labour rulings and secure (High Court-determined) contract law. It is a repeat of the disastrous Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal introduced by the 2012 Gillard Labor government. This ‘protection’ invention was about to destroy the businesses of 50,000 self-employed truckies before the Turnbull government abolished the Tribunal.
The obsession Labor has with the ‘evil’ gig economy is silly. Only 0.19 per cent of the Australian workforce earned their full-time income through gig work. But Labor is using a near-hysterical, anti-gig campaign as an excuse to attack self-employed people.
It’s clear that if Labor wins government, we (self-employed people) will have a big fight on our hands to retain our right to be self-employed. It’s about our right to decide how we want to earn our living and to control our working lives. Labor wants to attack that right.