Andrews a 'd*head' over AWA changes says Nationals leader and unions

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Andrews a 'd*head' over AWA changes says Nationals leader and unions

Unions are supporting NSW National Party leader Andrew Stoner's opinion that federal IR Minister Kevin Andrews is a 'd*ckhead' over the new AWA laws.

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Unions are supporting NSW National Party leader Andrew Stoner's opinion that federal IR Minister Kevin Andrews is a 'd*ckhead' over the new AWA laws.

Concern over impact

Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said his experience was that the new laws were costing the National Party voters in rural and regional areas. Unions NSW has been conducting extensive tours by bus into regional areas to explain their criticism of the Federal Government's new IR laws.

A story in Sydney's Daily Telegraph yesterday said that Stoner had labelled Mr Andrews 'a d*head' at a meeting of the Macleay River Teachers' Association in Kempsey on Monday.

Stoner had also revealed he did not know the Federal Government had abolished the no-disadvantage test for AWAs and that he had a 'problem' with the move.

Productivity ahead of fairness

The Nationals Leader said that if Mr Andrews was putting productivity ahead of fairness he was 'a d*head'.

The Telegraph said Stoner admitted making comments when contacted and stood by them.

He said the meeting with the teachers was supposed to be off the record and he had opened his remarks by saying he was not well-informed about the workplace changes. Stoner told the teachers the conditions of workers on AWAs would be protected by the no-disadvantage test, not realising it had been abolished by his federal colleagues.

Got a problem

According to a statutory declaration by association president Grant Lee, after being told the test had been abolished, Stoner said: 'If that's gone, then I've got a problem as well.'

According to Mr Lee, Mr Stoner later said of the move to scrap the test: 'If Kevin Andrews got rid of that, frankly he's a d*head.'

Stoner said he was referring to claims that Mr Andrews had emphasised productivity over fairness and had put his own staff on AWAs.

'I said, "Well look if that's the case the guy's a d*head". I said anyone who would do these things and say these things would be a d*head,' he said.

Nationals' supporters concerned

Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said Mr Stoner was expressing the views of many Nationals supporters.

'These laws spell the end of any National Party MP who continues to support them, and the politicians know it. In rural NSW these laws mean a race to the bottom for wages and small business,' he said.

'We are hearing, in town after town, people who say they have voted National all their lives, but after WorkChoices - never again.

Ask questions

'If I was in the National Party I'd be asking some direct questions about just who these laws are supposed to benefit, because they certainly don't help ordinary, hard-working Australians.

'If the Nationals continue to support WorkChoices they may as well just fold their tent and join the Liberal Party, because their own supporters are going to turn on them pretty fiercely from what we're hearing.'

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