The advert states that the Morrison Government “wants to make it harder for working Australians to seek fair pay and safe workplaces” yet allowed “big business and the banks” to get away with criminal banking breaches, workplace deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen wages.
The newspaper adverts will be accompanied by a social media campaign targeting the crossbench senators’ constituencies.
Senator Patrick responded to an earlier ETU advertisement targeting him and Senator Lambie by cutting off talks with the Australian Council of Trade Unions over the bill, refusing to see ACTU secretary Sally McManus in Canberra last week.
“It’s a shame this approach has been adopted because the ads have not, and will not sway us in any way,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Tuesday.
“The closing down of dialogue is harmful to their own cause.”
ETU president Troy Gray said members “make no apology for making their displeasure known to Rex Patrick, Stirling Griff, Jackie Lambie and other crossbench senators”.
“It is our democratic right to stick up for workers and their families against the draconian laws,” he said.
ETU secretary Allen Hicks said the Ensuring Integrity Bill, which would make it easier to deregister law breaking unions and disqualify officials, was “an abomination” that “seeks to punish workers and their representatives for campaigning for safer workplaces and better conditions”.
Unions argue the bill, even with amendments, will enable the Registered Organisations Commission to shut down unions and disqualify union leaders based on minor breaches of workplace laws, such as submitting late paperwork.
Mr Porter disputes this, but has refused to make the amendments public, despite calls from Labor’s industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke.
Senator Patrick said he had negotiated “a dramatically different bill” that would “not affect the good unions”.
Senator Hanson, who last week said she would not “rush” the bill through, will release a statement on Wednesday.
Dana is health and industrial relations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.