The majority voted against a motion to amend the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013, which was introduced by Liberal Party Senator Eric Abetz and was directed at the part of the bill that enabled an employee who is bullied at work to apply to the Fair Work Commission (‘FWC’) for an order to stop the bullying.

The amendment would have expanded the bill's bullying provisions so that they included the conduct of union officials towards workers and employers. It also would have provided that workers were only able to approach the FWC for an order after they had first approached an independent regulatory body for help and advice, such as Safe Work Australia.

Someone who voted Aye supported the amendment. The majority voted No, so the amendment was unsuccessful.

Debate in Parliament

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said that he did not have the opportunity to speak to the amendments in detail due to time constraints. However, he did emphasise the importance of expanding the bullying provisions to include the conduct of union officials.(Read Senator Abetz's comments and associated debate here.)

The Labor Government did not comment on the proposed amendment.

Background to the bill

The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 was partly made in response to a review of the Fair Work Act 2009 (‘the Act’) by an independent review panel in 2012. The Panel found that the Act was broadly meeting its objectives and so its recommendations were mainly technical. Approximately one third of these recommendations were implemented by the Fair Work Amendment Act 2012 and this Bill was introduced to implement several more of the recommendations as well as other reforms.


Votes Not passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 9 No
Richard Di Natale Victoria No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA No
Scott Ludlam WA No
Christine Milne Tasmania No
Lee Rhiannon NSW No
Rachel Siewert WA No
Larissa Waters Queensland No
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania No
Penny Wright SA No
Australian Labor Party (80% turnout) 0 Yes 24 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania No
Mark Bishop WA No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Jacinta Collins Victoria No
Trish Crossin NT No
Don Farrell SA No
David Feeney Victoria No
Mark Furner Queensland No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Sue Lines WA No
Kate Lundy ACT No
Gavin Marshall Victoria No
Anne McEwen SA No
Jan McLucas Queensland No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Louise Pratt WA No
Lisa Singh Tasmania No
Ursula Stephens NSW No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Matt Thistlethwaite NSW No
Lin Thorp Tasmania No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Penny Wong SA No
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Doug Cameron NSW Absent
Bob Carr NSW Absent
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
John Faulkner NSW Absent
Joe Ludwig Queensland Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party Absent
Stephen Parry Tasmania Deputy President Yes
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Yes
Liberal Party (89% turnout) 24 Yes 0 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
Christopher Back WA Yes
Cory Bernardi SA Yes
Simon Birmingham SA Yes
Sue Boyce Queensland Yes
George Brandis Queensland Yes
David Bushby Tasmania Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Yes
Mathias Cormann WA Yes
Sean Edwards SA Yes
Alan Eggleston WA Yes
David Fawcett SA Yes
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Yes
Mitch Fifield Victoria Yes
Gary Humphries ACT Yes
David Johnston WA Yes
Helen Kroger Victoria Yes
Ian Macdonald Queensland Yes
Brett Mason Queensland Yes
Marise Payne NSW Yes
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Yes
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Yes
Dean Smith WA Yes
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
Anne Ruston SA Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria Absent
National Party (80% turnout) 4 Yes 0 No
Barnaby Joyce Queensland Yes
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Yes
Fiona Nash NSW Yes
John Williams NSW Yes
Ron Boswell Queensland Absent
John Hogg Queensland President No
Totals (84% turnout) 30 Yes – 34 No