‘If you cop an AWA, blame the Libs’: Gillard

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‘If you cop an AWA, blame the Libs’: Gillard

Any Australian worker forced onto an AWA that cuts wages and conditions can blame Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson and the Liberal Party, IR Minister Julia Gillard said yesterday.

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Any Australian worker forced onto an AWA that cuts wages and conditions can blame Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson and the Liberal Party, IR Minister Julia Gillard said yesterday.

Gillard, speaking on the ABC 'Insiders' program, said the Opposition’s blocking of legislation that would abolish AWAs is showing their ‘contempt for the Australian people’.

The Opposition, which still has the numbers in the Senate, has referred the Government’s IR legislation to a Senate Committee, which is not due to report until 28 April 2008.

Delay

The Bill will then face further debate in the Senate and the House of Representatives, delaying it even further. The Opposition does not lose control of the Upper House until July.

Gillard said she was not opposed to a Senate Inquiry into the legislation, but said it should be the same length as the inquiry into WorkChoices when it was introduced late in 2005. The then Liberal Government rushed it through a Senate Committee in three days.

‘That is, we ask the Liberal Party to apply its own standards to itself,’ Gillard said.

‘Instead of doing that, which would have enabled a Senate Inquiry of proper duration, the Opposition decided to have an extended time frame.'

‘Parliamentary tricks’

‘Not because they are interested in an inquiry, or anything that it might show, they are just playing parliamentary tricks to keep WorkChoices alive as long as possible.'

‘In doing that, can I say I believe the Opposition Leader, when he went out to the Australian community and said, from the point of view of the Liberal Party, “Work Choices is dead”, did not tell the Australian community the truth.'

‘The Opposition Leader, the Liberal Party are doing everything they can to make sure Work Choices lasts and to make sure that working families can be ripped off by it.'

‘If there is an Australian today who is handed an AWA which takes away a term or condition that they have relied on, then they can thank Brendan Nelson and the Liberal Party for that.’

Contempt

Gillard said Labor had set out a very reasonable Bill for the Parliament.

‘It implements our election commitment to get rid of AWAs. The Australian people voted for it,’ she said.

‘The Liberal Party knows that, but it still wants to play games to keep its extreme WorkChoices laws alive and, in doing that, it is not showing contempt for the Labor Party, it is showing contempt for the Australian people.’


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