Exclusive Brethren lose workplace exemption

Exclusive Brethren lose workplace exemption

A SPECIAL exemption used by the secretive Exclusive Brethren sect to ban unions from their workplaces was struck out of workplace laws before the Senate last night.

The “conscientious objector” clause – beefed up by former prime minister John Howard as a favour to the religious group – was used by more than 30 sect employers over the past decade to claim a legal right to stop unions from even visiting their business, regardless of whether staff wanted representation. The provision had been carried over into Labor’s proposed new workplace laws, despite Kevin Rudd, when he was Opposition leader, branding the Exclusive Brethren an “extremist cult” that breaks up families.

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