ISA uses union lawyer to push default super case

Industry Super Australia (ISA) has sought to use a legal opinion developed by trade union Queen’s Counsel (QC) to convince the Productivity Commission (PC) of the importance of making the Fair Work Commission (FWC) integral to the selection of default superannuation funds.

In a submission filed with the PC late last week, the ISA has referenced the legal opinion of Melbourne-based QC, Warren Friend who has represented the Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and is president of the Industrial Bar Association.

While the PC’s draft report on the Superannuation Efficiency and Competitiveness found that the Fair Work Commission should be kept out of default fund selection, the ISA’s legal argument developed by Friend has argued strongly for retention of the industrial judiciary in the fund selection process.

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Encapsulating the legal opinion, the ISA said Friend “concludes that the FWC possesses strong characteristics of independence, transparency and fairness of process”.

It said Friend had “found unpersuasive the argument of the Draft Report that the FWC is irreversibly flawed as a default selection venue because of past concerns with resolving disputes and industrial precedent.

However, in doing so, it noted that Friend believed amendments introduced by the former Labor Government in 2012 had changed the equation and promoted member benefit.

It quoted the QC as stating “the FWC is now explicitly required to make decisions in the ‘best interests’ of members, and is not limited to acting on the motion of the industrial parties”.

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