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Possible a workplace bill could pass: ALP

AAP logoAAP 19/11/2016 Jennifer Rajca

Labor believes it's possible one of the federal government's workplace bills could pass parliament, but not without significant changes.

Restoring a building industry watchdog and a new regime for tackling union misconduct will be high on the agenda when MPs return to Canberra for the last fortnight of 2016.

Legislation to create a Registered Organisations Commission appears to have more support than the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Workplace relations spokesman Brendan O'Connor has told ABC TV he believes it's possible the former could pass.

"We agree that there should be zero tolerance for any corruption, whether it be in registered organisations or the corporate sector or the banking industry," he said.

But the opposition wants several amendments, including letting ASIC be the regulator, exempting volunteers, better protection for whistleblowers and having the same donation disclosure thresholds for candidates in unions and MPs.

"You can hardly say it's ok to have transparency for union elections when it comes to donations but not have the same forms of disclosure for candidates for people who want to run the country," Mr O'Connor said.

He said he had spoken to all of the Senate crossbenchers and there were significant concerns about the ABCC bill.

"Who knows where it will land at this point," he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is keeping mum on whether he has enough support to pass the draft laws.

Mr Turnbull told reporters in Lima, Peru not to be negative about the ABCC legislation, chastising them for "such pessimism on this beautiful day".

He said working with the Senate was a long game.

"We respect every single senator," he told reporters on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

"They are all elected by the Australian people, they all have a vote and we're working hard to achieve a majority on the floor to get our program and the bills we took to the election passed."

With Family First senator Bob Day no longer in the upper house, the government will need eight crossbench votes instead of nine.

Senate powerbroker Nick Xenophon says he will be meeting Employment Minister Michaelia Cash later on Sunday to discuss the registered organisation legislation.

"With significant amendments, I think the bill could get through in terms of registered organisations," he told ABC TV.

"I don't think it is unreasonable that unions and employer organisations are subjected to the same sorts of rule that companies are subject to in terms of accountability."

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