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SLAVE-DRIVER: Bad boss Greensparty MP Adam Bandt implicated in unpaid staff scandal

AdambandtgreensGreensparty Workplace Relations spokesman and deputy leader Adam Bandt, whose rising inflection is considered in Marxist circles to be representative of the class struggle, has been busted in a dodgy unpaid employment scheme in his own electorate office.

Ironically, Bandt is a former labour relations lawyer who has boasted of representing trade unions when briefly employed at law firm Slater & Gordon. He left the firm to complete a Doctorate of Philosophy in Soviet jurisprudence, as you do.

It’s not the first time Bandt’s commitment to the proletariat has been questioned with claims he betrayed coal-workers he had previously represented at the law firm, falsely claiming at an eco-rally the CFMEU had surveyed them indicating they were essentially all happy to give up their jobs and work in “renewable energy.” The union denounced his claim as deceitful and he has never adequately explained himself.

Parliamentary sources familiar with Adam Bandt’s office head-count suggest he has had as many as 9 registered volunteers at any one time registered with parliamentary authorities for the purposes of allocating aph.gov.au email addresses.

Sources told VEXNEWS that previous Bandt advertisements made it clear that at least 10 hours a week unpaid work was expected of the ‘interns’ with several accruing hundreds of hours, representing potentially many thousands of dollars in unpaid salaries and entitlements.

“It is a ticking time-bomb of liability for taxpayers,” one explained, worried that unpaid and exploited Bandt ‘interns’ could leave taxpayers vulnerable to expensive litigation and compensation cases.

Employee

Interns are not necessarily illegal, they are common enough in Australian workplaces in certain circumstances, but employment law experts consulted by VEXNEWS have explained that rules must be followed:

It may be that this type of internship fits the definition of a ‘vocational placement’ under the Fair Work Act 2009 (see definition in section 12 of the Act). But, on my initial reading, there are serious questions that arise. Section 12 of the Act states:

‘vocational placement means a placement that is:
(a) undertaken with an employer for which a person is not entitled to be paid any remuneration; and
(b) undertaken as a requirement of an education or training course; and
(c) authorised under a law or an administrative arrangement of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.’

Bandt’s advertisement makes it clear that the ‘intern’ would be involved in a range of work that would normally be performed by paid electorate office staff:

Communications and media support eg research and analysis, web content, drafting articles.
Constituent Liaison eg responding to constituent concerns, researching advocacy options.
Community Outreach eg making contact with Melbourne community groups, organising meetings.
Community Organising eg supporting community campaigns on issues of concern to constituents.
Policy and Research eg researching various policy areas, drafting speaking notes

Indeed, those duties cover practically all of the duties of electorate officers, allowing well-connected Greensparty hacks like failed Greens preselection candidate Rose Iser and former student Marxist and Bandt spin-doctor Damien Lawson plenty of time for intriguing, latte sipping and fighting preselection contests against apostate state party leader (and Bandt power rival) Greg Barber.

Our legal eagle advises:

If the internship does not meet all of these requirements, it may be that these ‘interns’ are employees and are entitled to the relevant pay, entitlements and conditions etc. While this can be a grey area, at no point in Bandt’s advertisement does it require that the internship be ‘undertaken as a requirement of an education or training course’ as is required by law.

Clearly, this (the formal education and training requirement) is an element of the definition under the Act.

Universities have official parliamentary internship programs that are formal units of study, whereas these internships are not suggested to be a part of any such program.

In other words, by attempting to farm out much of his notoriously lazy and unresponsive electorate officers’ work to “interns,” the Greensparty MP could be exposing the Commonwealth to lawsuits from these unpaid staff to the extent they have performed work duties outside an officially recognised education programme.

There are plenty of official programmes that are part of the studies of a number of University students, political sources told VEXNEWS they include:

A number of Australian MPs, Universities and unions run internship and traineeship programs aimed at young people. They can be an important pathway in to paid work and a career in advocacy and public policy.

Examples of internship programs include:
The Australian National Internship Program, a program overseen by the ANU

The Victorian Parliamentary Internship program, a partnership between Monash University and the Parliament of Victoria

The South Australian Internship and Parliamentary Internship Program, a partnership between the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Parliament.

The WA Labour Movement Work Experience Program, which is co-ordinated by the Labour Movement Education Association Inc

Victorian Trades Halls Union Summer program

They point out:

It is the norm for these internships to be paid, or in the case of programs run by Universities, for participants to receive academic credit.

In Bandt’s case, they are neither paid nor are the interns part of any education programme for which they could receive credit.

The abuse of interns is a big issue in Australian workplaces, with gullible and vulnerable interns being debased and abused by cunning employers keen to rely on the usually young victims as a source of free labour.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is currently investigating the issues and VEXNEWS understands may have already received complaints in relation to Bandt’s conduct.

Our expert concludes:

From my understanding, because the legislation is still fairly new, case law on this issue is scant. But arguments could be made that the advertised internship is a misrepresentation of what should be an employment relationship.

The (Bandt) internship does not appear to be merely ‘observational’ and an argument could be made that Bandt is seeking these ‘interns’ to primarily assist in the outputs and productivity of his office (see the duties listed in the advertisement).

The advertisement blatantly states that ‘no employment positions are on offer’. This is a dubious statement, because whether a contract of employment has been entered into will depend on the entire nature of the relationship and not simply the terminology used by a faux employer.

Developing…

Discussion

Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. I had need to contact Adam Brandts office on an immigration matter and I was diss appointed Tate lack of knowledge or professional assitance that was available. The staff member I spoke to had know idea of how
    Australia’s Immigration system worked let alone the basics of making representation. I was left with no alternative but to contact my senators office. Cleary there is no training and a lack of experience in Sdam Brants staff. I was left with the feeling that I was speaking to a work experience volunteer.

    Posted by Melbourne Resident | August 8, 2012, 13:58
  2. Corruption

    Posted by Is Mayne still running for the Melbourne City Council | August 8, 2012, 14:13
  3. Perhaps Bandt should have asked Ingeus to provide the unpaid slaves. All hail the new slave trading king Rudd!

    Posted by chris | August 8, 2012, 14:25
  4. Typical. The PM also work for SLAG too. That firm must be a breeding ground of teaching how to bend or break the law without getting caught! He may be a pollie but he is NOT above the law. Justice must be dealt to him.

    Posted by Louie2U | August 8, 2012, 14:42
  5. Israel still has no Olympic medals not even one for shooting. Iran has 8 medal, including 4 gold, as do some other Arab states. Medals are not only being won by the big 6 nations, nearly 100 nations now have at least one medal.

    Posted by Yasmine Arafat | August 8, 2012, 15:09
  6. even if they we offed a paid position they would be redundant within 12 months. Without Liberal Party preferences Brandt will lose his seat at the next election, although I am told he is seeking a Senate spot but the power play within the Greens has said no.

    With such limited career options there is little wonder why they can to attract any full time experienced staff.

    Those who have had dealing with Brandt’s office on federal matters have not been happy with the lack of service. Most people just avoid it.

    Posted by Joseph | August 8, 2012, 15:22
  7. Tnis explains why the greens have a pro people smuggler policy.

    Posted by Slave traders | August 8, 2012, 15:23
  8. I wonder if we will soon be hearing of a sexual harassment complaint against the member for Melbourne. James Ashby is looking of a new position I hear. wasn’t Monica working as an Intern for Bill Clinton?

    Posted by Ashby's boy | August 8, 2012, 15:28
  9. Someone needs to see if the interns are on the dole similtaneous to working for this little creep.

    Posted by Right Said Fred | August 8, 2012, 15:43
  10. Every party has volunteers.

    Vex makes a mountain out of precisely nothing.

    If they volunteer they are not being exploited are they?

    Vex is very good, the hate obsession with the Greens though is so far over the top it could be written by Gorgeous George Brandis.

    Posted by Marilyn | August 8, 2012, 17:26
  11. There are no such thing as frigging people smugglers.

    refugees are allowed to come here under our law, ergo they are allowed to pay for transport.

    Why do the woeful and moronic have to infest this sort of blog with hate and ignorance.

    Posted by Marilyn | August 8, 2012, 17:27
  12. Faux employer+Faux Ideology =Green Mantra.How this middle class Marxist can justify the exploitation of the vulnerable & unpaid interns is sure to go down well with the FWA who would be no doubt interested in his unorthodox employment of interns.

    Posted by yet to concede.... | August 8, 2012, 17:29
  13. Bandt has a staffer called Iser who calls herself something other than electorate officer. Is this to pay her a different rate? She is also a lawyer so how does she fair in all this?

    Posted by Tamara Langston | August 8, 2012, 19:47
  14. ALP primary vote 15% here hee what a bunch of winners. NT about to go and Gillard is as wanted there about as much as a dose of the clap. No federal seats held soon in QLD, NSW, Tasmania and NT. It is really too funny!!

    Posted by An ALP member until 31st May 2012 | August 8, 2012, 20:15
  15. Adam Bandt should be a volunteer MP and work for nothing too.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | August 8, 2012, 21:34
  16. This story has about as much credibility as a Jim Metcher rant. What is it with you clowns, the electorate hate the ALP, it’s over, gone, the party is finished now eff off will ya. Youse all brought it on yerselves with the dickheads you elevated out of unions and into parliment. One f*ckwit after another with plenty more waiting in line no doubt. Ya can hate on The Greens all youse want and it won’t change a thing, the hangman is waiting. Bring on the Royal Commission into unions and where all the members money has gone. See you all in court you thieves.

    Posted by Anonymous | August 8, 2012, 22:53
  17. Settle down Anon (or should I say Jimmy). Latest poll had the green support drop from 14% to 10% so I don’t know what you are fucking on about. The ETU dags have a lot to answer for after donating a million bucks to Bob Brown. Effing future generations of Australians so you can shove smart meters and solar panels down our throats. mothereffers

    The latest trend is to use prisoners to replace paid workers, just like this scammy solar company called ‘Going Green’..
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/08/prisoners-call-centre-fired-staff

    Posted by chris | August 9, 2012, 1:31
  18. Settle down Anon (or should I say Jimmy). Latest poll had the green support drop from 14% to 10% so I don’t know what you are fucking on about. The ETU dags have a lot to answer for after donating a million bucks to Bob Brown. Effing future generations of Australians just so you and your bogan mates can shove smart meters and solar panels down our throats.

    The latest trend is to use prisoners to replace paid workers, just like this scammy solar company called ‘Going Green’..
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/08/prisoners-call-centre-fired-staff

    Posted by chris | August 9, 2012, 1:32
  19. DEAN MIGHELL supported and funded you adam, as his busy with bill kelty in mediation.i know of some spare cash in his safe ,left over from RCH dispute.it amazes me everyone you align yourself with DEAN is no good.

    Posted by jimmy | August 9, 2012, 7:57
  20. I did not sniff that Green intern!
    I’d probably be dead if I had!

    Posted by Roy Tuswell | August 9, 2012, 8:18
  21. Hey, everyone does it! Get off our backs. http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2011/nov/30/internships-unpaid-arts-culture

    But if Labor or Liberals do it, we will be all over you, because that’s different.

    Posted by Seen the green light | August 9, 2012, 8:19
  22. Marilyn,
    You are symptomatic of typical dumb arse shrill Greens. There is such a thing as people smugglers. whilst refugees have a right to transit between nations, they still need to do so according border control requirements. People smugglers (like drug smugglers) whole objective is to ferry cargo in a way that avoids required border controls. You may not realise it from behind the latte curtain, but no one is free to just jump in a boat and lob on a foreign country unannounced.

    Posted by Right Said Fred | August 9, 2012, 10:10
  23. So the bright young things turn up at Bandt’s office and do unpaid work. Okay, if it’s for the betterment of the Greens and that’s understood. If though they expect a plus for themselves, it could be debatable if this is the way to go.

    Firstly Bandt’s churning them. So if you think maybe if you brown-nose enough, you will eventually get a position, it might be a wait. He’s hoping for 20 recruits a year. Other states will have their own bright young things. Not much of a ego boost for the interns to be overlooked.

    Secondly, having it on your CV. Well okay if you are planning to work in environment, social, or academic organisations, but you have branded yourself maybe as someone on a narrow path to broader employers, who deal with a wide range of clients.

    Then there is the time spent travelling, hanging out and not getting PAID! when you could be looking for more positive placements. Internships are on the nose, as the Greens should know not act as though they are offering a real treat. FWA has been looking at internships. Tread carefully Greens.

    Posted by Potential rip off for youth. | August 9, 2012, 13:28
  24. Yasmine – can you explain the connection of your comment to the story here?

    I really hope you’re not Yasser Arafat’s daughter – you know, with the AIDS he died from, that wouldn’t bode too well for you my dear….

    Posted by RT | August 9, 2012, 15:23
  25. Oh Kate I’ll just have a little lie down as I’m sleepy after my herb tea. Why are all these common manual workers angry with me? Can’t they just get money of Mummsie like we did?

    Posted by Red Ted | August 9, 2012, 20:05
  26. “Why do the woeful and moronic have to infest this sort of blog with hate and ignorance”

    Don’t beat yourself up too much Marilyn.

    Posted by Toad of Toad Hall | August 9, 2012, 22:20
  27. Hey marilyn … Newsflash …. the grubs coming here on boats are just Business-Class reffos taking the spot of deserving and legal applicants.
    They are only coming here to suck on the teat of our soft social welfare sytem and, in some cases, plot their next terrorist attack.

    Posted by Toad of Toad Hall | August 9, 2012, 22:22
  28. Money well spent Jimmy

    Posted by SecretPropertyMogul | August 9, 2012, 23:48
  29. @ chris | August 9, 2012, 1:31 You been asleep at the wheel mate! Latest trend, try 20 years of trend. Microsoft have used prisoners in the US to package their products for at least 20 years. Google the term ‘Prison Industrial Complex’ that should bring you up to speed pretty quick. Why do you think the US/UK and now here like privatised prisons? Why do you think they like stiffer sentences? Now if you want recent trends try ‘Crowd Sourcing’ this is where a company wants a job done say a website done or some accounting task. They go to a crowd sourcing website and individuals with those skills bid themselves lower and lower against other with those skills until the company finds a bid they like and that person gets the work. This is now huge in the service industry anything that can be done remotely. You can get work done offshore without ever leaving your armchair.
    For all of you clowns bitching about Dean Mighell and the ETU you need to get out more and get the ALP blinkers off, free yourselves from the mind control and Groupthink. T

    Posted by Anonymous | August 10, 2012, 0:50
  30. Hey ETU dickhead, I was talking about prisoners working ON SITE at private companies. The ETU are low life scum and will be held to account for selling out this country

    Posted by chris | August 10, 2012, 3:51
  31. Thanks DEAN.

    Posted by jimmy | August 10, 2012, 8:01
  32. Dean (posting as Anon) you really haven’t worked out have you? It’s nothing to do with the ALP just a large group of people that truly hate you! You cannot go around screwing people over and not build up a large hater base and believe me, yours is massive and growing

    Posted by Jimmysmatesmate | August 10, 2012, 8:23
  33. I’m confused. In one article you “accuse” Adam Bandt (not Brandt, people!) of employing interns in his not-for-profit office, as if it was some kind of underhanded skullduggery. In another article you lambast a woman for not being nice to the highly profitable organisation which was good and charitable enough to… employ her as an intern. Does your right hand know what your right hand is doing? (You don’t seem to have a left one).

    Posted by Helen | August 10, 2012, 12:44
  34. Nice one Helen. Wish i had made that astute observation and insightfull comment.

    Posted by Reggie | August 10, 2012, 14:18
  35. Adam Bandt is a grub….a la Scott Ryan.

    Posted by Hotrod | August 10, 2012, 20:31
  36. But he is not as grubby as the ALP candidates who use trade union staff on secondment for election campaigns whilst their members suffer in unsafe and unjust workplaces.

    Posted by anon | August 10, 2012, 20:53
  37. Back again Dean

    Posted by Jimmysmatesmate | August 10, 2012, 21:31
  38. Oh I love it when those [deleted]

    Posted by Jimmysmatesmate | August 11, 2012, 0:02
  39. Ah we have a Jimmysmatesmate imposter!

    Posted by Jimmysmatesmate | August 11, 2012, 11:25
  40. You again Dean?

    Posted by Jimmysmatesmate | August 11, 2012, 11:26
  41. Slater & Gordon asking the AWU players to waive privilege so they can release documents about the AWU scandal of the 1990’s! Hmm aren’t Slater & Gordon the ‘go to’ lawyers for the likes of Michael Williamson and the HSU East Branch? Didn’t Kathy Jackson describe an S&G solicitor as Williamson’s drinking buddy? Come to think of it S&G are the ‘go to’ lawyers for most of the stinking NSW ALP patronage machine and their unions. No wonder they want to clean up before a Liberal Royal Commission into unions. How many other union ‘schemes’ have they been the involved solicitors for?

    Posted by Lie down with dogs............ | August 11, 2012, 17:48
  42. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations law. The US has it, we need it.Crush The Filth!

    Posted by JakartaJaap | August 12, 2012, 21:22
  43. Comrade Stalin would be proud of you Mr Bandt (Phd)

    Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2012, 9:50
  44. How Much do you get paid per post Toad of Toad Hall? Which Liberal party building do you work out of?

    Posted by LNP Toad of LNP Toad Hall (AKA Werribee Sewerage farm) | August 17, 2012, 11:01
  45. Mighell knows all about using Union Staff for Political candidates, Who do you think Plumbed, Wired, built partitions, Plastered and Painted a certain Ringwood Office for during the 07 champaighn? That’s right ETU Staff and ETU Shop Stewards that were being paid to be at work.

    Posted by Americanexpress | August 20, 2012, 20:54
  46. Avid readers of Vex News will remember that I said 12 months ago that Mighell would blame Brentnal for the missing money. As per today’s front page of the Australian.

    Posted by Mighellsadog | August 20, 2012, 20:58

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