Australian Medical Association slams Industrial Relations Commission over nurses union threat

Home Politics Australian Medical Association slams Industrial Relations Commission over nurses union threat
Australian Medical Association slams Industrial Relations Commission over nurses union threat

The head of the peak medical organisation representing doctors in WA has described a threat to deregister the Australian Nursing Federation as a “Thatcher-like overreach”.

It comes after nurses and midwives took statewide strike action last Friday in defiance of Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) orders as a bitter dispute over pay and conditions with the state government continued.

The IRC wrote to the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) yesterday warning it was considering summoning the union to “show cause why its registration should not be suspended”.

ANF state secretary Janet Reah and head of legal services Belinda Burke have been “invited” to consult with IRC senior commissioner Rachel Cosentino tomorrow morning.

‘Affront to workers’: AMA

The latest move by the IRC has sparked criticism from the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

A man in a white shirt with a black and gold tie stands outside looking into the distance.
Mark Duncan-Smith says the move is “Thatcher-like”. (ABC News: Keane Bourke)

“This is the sort of thing that I suspect happened with Margaret Thatcher with the coal mines,” AMA WA president Mark Duncan-Smith said.

“This is where you ultimately get a right-wing approach to industrial relations policy and then you get suppression of the freedom of speech.

“I think this is an affront to the workers of Western Australia, I think that if the government isn’t behind this they should step in and stop it from happening.”

A spokesman for Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said the government had played no part in the notice issued by the IRC.

“We have made no application to the Industrial Relations Commission, nor asked the Commission to take these steps. It is a matter between the Commission and the ANF. We respect the independent umpire,” he said.

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