Conservative state governments impose further restrictions on the right to bargain collectively and to take industrial action: Governments in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland have passed laws to benefit the state governments in their roles as employers by deliberately restricting the rights of their employees in the public service. In NSW, laws have always prohibited public servants (including teachers, police and nurses) from striking, but provided for arbitration of wage claims by an independent workplace tribunal. During the year, the conservative government passed a law allowing the government to dictate the wages of over 300,000 workers, without the obligation to bargain and without the right to strike. An appeal of this legislation by the NSW public sector unions to the High Court was unsuccessful.

In Queensland, the Government has passed laws which remove important protections for state public sector workers with respect to termination, change and redundancy that exist in collective agreements and awards and render unenforceable any existing restrictions on the use of contractors. These laws come at a time when the government is laying off tens of thousands of workers. New laws also impose requirements on the industrial tribunal in Queensland to take into account the state's financial position and fiscal strategy when determining public sector wages and conditions by arbitration. The laws introduce limitations on the right to bargain collectively and take industrial action, including requirements for protected action ballots, provisions enabling an employer to submit a ballot directly to employees, and new powers for the Minister to terminate industrial action on a number of grounds.

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