Libs ‘spitting in peoples faces’ in bid to keep AWAs

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Libs ‘spitting in peoples faces’ in bid to keep AWAs

Opposition plans to stop the abolition of AWAs are ‘spitting in the face of the Australian people’, says Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard.

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Opposition plans to stop the abolition of AWAs are ‘spitting in the face of the Australian people’, says Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard.

Opposition IR spokeswoman Julie Bishop says Labor has a mandate to roll back WorkChoices, but not the form of AWAs that were introduced in 1996.

Those AWAs had a ‘no disadvantage test’ that was abolished under WorkChoices, only to have public disquiet force a ‘fairness test’, which was introduced in May 2007.

Risk to the economy

‘Analysts and economists have been warning about the risks to the economy if you reduce flexibility in the workplace,’ Bishop said yesterday.

‘Labor says it wants to roll back WorkChoices - well, it should introduce legislation that does precisely that.

‘We can work with Labor to progress that in their anticipated timeframe.'

‘But if you are talking about going beyond WorkChoices and taking away an individual right to bargain, that should be subjected to much greater scrutiny.’

However, Gillard said she would push ahead with legislation to be introduced into the first sitting of the new parliament next week which would mean no-one can make a new AWA.

Got a mandate

‘No doubt we’ve got a mandate for it,’ Gillard said. ‘I mean, workplace relations was not an incidental debate in the last campaign. Our policy was crystal clear. We will therefore be taking that policy to the Parliament.'

‘Now of course, we’re getting signs from the Liberal Party that they want to play procedural games in the Senate to delay that legislation being passed. That is all about them clutching on to WorkChoices and keeping WorkChoices in operation as long as possible.'

‘And I would simply say to the Liberal Party, I don’t ask them to like the result of the last election - I suspect they don’t. But I’d like them to respect it.'

Spit in the face

‘The Australian people said at the last election they don’t want WorkChoices, they don’t want AWAs, and to hold up that becoming the law of this country is to really spit in the face of the Australian people.’

Gillard said the people had ‘brought their verdict in’ at the last election.

‘Julie Bishop - she can twist, she can turn, she can cobble together excuses, she can make it up as she goes along, she can try to keep Work Choices alive by manipulation, which is clearly what she wants to do,’ Gillard said.

‘But what she can’t do in good faith and good conscience is pretend that it’s what the Australian people voted for, because it is not.’

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