Andrews slams ACTU claim that IR laws 'world's worst'

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Andrews slams ACTU claim that IR laws 'world's worst'

Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews has hit back at ACTU claims that the ILO regarded Australia's IR legislation as 'among some of the world's worst', saying the ILO had made no such finding.

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Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews has hit back at ACTU claims that the ILO regarded Australia's IR legislation as 'among some of the world's worst', saying the ILO had made no such finding.

Andrews, who is attending the ILO conference in Geneva, said ACTU President Sharan Burrow's claims were 'outlandish'.

He said Australia appeared before the ILO's Conference Committee on the Application of Standards (or the Applications Committee) this week and, as has previously been the case, the Applications Committee made no particular findings against Australia.

Burrows had said that Australia's IR laws 'breach fundamental human rights by infringing on the right of working people to join a union and to bargain collectively'.

Out of step

She said ILO members are 'very concerned that as an advanced nation, Australia is increasingly out of step with its international obligations and has placed the Howard Government's laws on a list of labour rights violations cases for immediate examination'.

She also claimed Australian Government representatives at the ILO are expected to be questioned about the legal and practical aspects of the Government's adherence to international labour rights conventions in particular, The Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, number 98.

However Andrews said that for the ACTU to assert that the ILO had branded Australia 'among some of the world's worst' in terms of labour violations was 'both ridiculous and offensive to all Australians - particularly in light of the Applications Committee's conclusion'.

'Such assertions completely ignore the fact that Australia's workplace relations system further enshrines the right of Australian workers to choose whether or not they wish to join a union and continues to provide for union right of entry, collective bargaining by unions and their members and the right to strike,' he said.

More information

'In short, and as it did last year, the Applications Committee sought further information on Australia's workplace relations framework. Specifically, Australia will provide further information on the changes to the Workplace Relations Act.'

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