MINISTER for Employment Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash has appointed two new Deputy Presidents and two new Commissioners to the Fair Work Commission, as well as extended the appointment of Acting Commissioner, Perth-based Danny Cloghan.

The new appointees, announced Friday 11 December, are as follows:

  • Melanie Binet, principal of Perth law firm Gregor & Binet, appointed Deputy President effective from 1 February 2016;
  • Richard Clancy, currently director of workplace relations at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), appointed Deputy President effective from 3 February 2016;
  • Katrina Harper-Greenwell, an employment relations consultant who has held senior positions in major mine, road, rail and infrastructure projects, appointed Commissioner effective from 1 February 2016; and
  • Jennifer Hunt, currently employee and industrial relations manager at Toll Holdings Ltd, appointed Commissioner effective from 8 February 2016.

“These new appointees to the Fair Work Commission are all highly experienced in workplace relations law and the practice of workplace relations at the coalface,” Minister Cash said.

“I congratulate each on their appointment and thank them for agreeing to serve the Australian community in these important capacities.”

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott also congratulated the ‘high calibre’ appointees, and welcomed Minister Cash injecting new business experience and practical competencies into Australia’s national workplace tribunal.

“It’s no secret that when last in government, Labor overwhelmingly slanted its appointments to its own industrial alumni, with 18 of the 27 new members to the tribunal coming from trade union or ALP-affiliated backgrounds,” Mr Knott said.

“Minister Cash’s new appointees have demonstrated business experience, including in managing complex resources and infrastructure projects, and should be welcomed by all with an interest in a balanced and modern workplace relations system, productive enterprises and diversity.

“It is further welcomed that Minister Cash, who is also Minister for Women, has improved the gender diversity of the FWC by appointing three additional women to the Commission, all bringing a wealth of practical experience to their new roles.”

Not all corners of the workplace relations community were pleased with these appointments, however, with the Federal Opposition led by spokesman for employment Brendan O’Connor quick to criticise the lack of new appointees from trade union or ALP-affiliated backgrounds.

Responding to the ALP’s criticism, Mr Knott said the call for ‘trade union alumni’ to continue to dominate FWC appointments in the 21st century ‘lacks credibility’ given just 11% of Australians working in the private sector choose to participate in trade unions.

“Such criticism shows the ALP is ‘out of touch with the professional and modern workplace relations system Australia needs’,” Mr Knott said.

“Australian employers and employees need appointments to our workplace tribunal to better reflect 21st Century workplaces and the diversity of the Australian community.

“AMMA, which represents the national resource industry and manages the Australian Women in Resources Alliance, congratulates the Minister in making these 21st Century appointments and looks forward to further high calibre, well regarded individuals filling future tribunal vacancies.”

For more information, contact a member of AMMA’s policy team via 1800 627 771.