On 24 January 2014 the Fair Work Commission published an Issues Paper dealing with issues related to the first 4 yearly review of modern awards (the Review). The paper is to assist in the facilitation of a conference being convened by the Commission on 5 February 2014. The conference will commence the initial stage of the Review. 1.2.
Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, Minister for Employment, indicated in correspondence of 9 December 2013 to the President of the Commission, Justice Ross, that the Coalition Government would participate in the Review, including the initial stage. 1.3.
The Government makes the following submissions at the outset of the Review and in response to the draft propositions contained in the Issues Paper.
Contrast with Two Year Review of Modern Awards (Transitional Review)
The Government agrees with the Commission’s first draft proposition – the 4 yearly review is broader in scope than the Transitional Review of modern awards completed in 2013 – for the reasons outlined in the Issues Paper. 2.2.
In the decision about the scope of the Transitional Review the Full Bench advised parties that “awards made as a result of the award modernisation process are now deemed to be modern awards for the purpose of the
Fair Work Act 2009
(see Item 4 of Schedule 5 of the Transitional Provisions Act). Implicit in this is a legislative acceptance that the terms of the existing modern awards are consistent with the modern awards objective”.
While the current modern awards were consistent with the modern awards objective in 2008-09 when they were drafted, the Commission must use this Review to ensure modern awards remain consistent with the modern awards objective and consider whether the practical effect of modern awards over the previous four years has adequately reflected the objective. 2.4.
The second reading speech to the Fair Work Bill 2008 makes it clear that awards should be responsive to the changing needs and expectations of the community.
 FWAFB 5600 at para 85.