AEU Federal Court proceedings adjourned

6 May 2010

The Fair Work Ombudsman has agreed to adjourn its proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia seeking the imposition of an interim injunction on the Australian Education Union (AEU) to prevent disruption of the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests next week.

At 2.15pm today, the AEU re-opened its case before the Federal Court and filed evidence that it had lifted its moratorium on the conduct and administration of the 2010 NAPLAN tests.

Counsel for the AEU, Mark Irving, told Justice Christopher Jessup, there was no qualification on the Union lifting the moratorium.

Fair Work Ombudsman Chief Counsel Leigh Johns welcomed the AEU's decision to lift the moratorium. "As the national regulator of Australia's workplace laws, we acted promptly in seeking to prevent proposed unprotected industrial action that would have had serious implications for the learning outcomes of thousands of students," he said.

"Quite rightly, unions expect employers to abide by workplace laws. Therefore, unions and their members must also comply with those laws and respect the authority of industrial tribunals."

While the Fair Work Ombudsman's proceedings have been adjourned to May 28, the Federal Court granted the Agency liberty to make an application to bring the matter on sooner if need be. The Fair Work Ombudsman's Complex Case Unit will closely monitor the conduct of the AEU and its members in relation to the conduct and administration of the NAPLAN tests.

Mr Johns says the Agency takes very seriously its legislative responsibilities to ensure industrial action is not unprotected and within the provisions of the Fair Work Act, which provide for a regime of lawful industrial action during bargaining.

Media inquiries:

Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0419 818 484
craig.bildstien@fwo.gov.au

Ryan Pedler, Media & Stakeholder Relations Senior Adviser
(03) 9954 2561, 0434 365 924
ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au

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