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Government attacks people running their own clothing business at home 2012

1 March 2012

ICA knows lots of people who have started their own business at home making clothing. They are mostly women, but not always, and are frequently migrants. ICA knows plenty of these people who've made good money from this---even putting their children through private school. Progressively, Australian laws have clamped down on this, making it more and more difficult. Now the Gillard government is literally killing off this form of self-employment.

Its new laws declare any home clothing worker to be an employee.

The Bill:
  • extends the operation of most provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) to contract outworkers in the textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) industry by deeming contract outworkers to be employees
  • provides a mechanism to enable TCF outworkers to recover unpaid amounts, including from contractors along the supply chain
  • extends specific right of entry rules that apply to suspected breaches affecting outworkers (which allow entry without 24 hours' notice) to the TCF industry, and
  • enables a TCF outwork code to be issued.
This is totally wrong. The Gillard government sees 'worker exploitation' around every corner. It thinks that the only way to fix alleged 'exploitation' is to force everyone to be an employee. It is wrong. People have a right to be a business, even women working from home sewing. The Gillard government is denying these people that right.

Where there are problems in the industry for self-employed homeworkers, these can be largely fixed through:
  • Applying fair contract laws for small business people. (But the Gillard Labor government went back on the deal to do this in 2010 after lobbying from the big end of town).
  • Quick, cheap dispute-resolution procedures. (The state governments are progressively doing this through their Small Business Commissioners).


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