Industrial umpire criticised for failing to issue ‘any decision’


The nation’s industrial umpire has been forced to largely re-issue one of its decisions after the Federal Court criticised some of the most-senior members of the Fair Work Commission for failing to even issue a decision in part of the litigation.

In an unusual finding, three judges of the Federal Court held last month that a Fair Work decision about the rights of a group of mariners from the shipping company, Teekay Australia, who had lost their jobs, was only “what purports to be a decision”.

The sacked mariners worked on ships transporting coal and iron ore.Credit:Darren Pateman

“It is necessary to use the qualification, purported because one thing which is not manifest from the document … is, with respect, any decision of the commission at all,” Federal Court judge John Logan said in a judgment issued in late February.

The decision, by Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross, deputy president Val Gostencnik and commissioner Tim Lee, was supposed to determine what rules governed how the mariners’ employment could be ended.



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