Business 'wrong' to say WorkChoices is loved, says Gillard

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Business 'wrong' to say WorkChoices is loved, says Gillard

Claims by business organisations that there is no anxiety among workers about the Federal Government's WorkChoices legislation are 'wrong', says Labor's IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard.

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Claims by business organisations that there is no anxiety among workers about the Federal Government's WorkChoices legislation are 'wrong', says Labor's IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said the latest job security data by Roy Morgan Research showed that 81% of Australian employees believe their current job is safe.

ACCI Director of Workplace Policy, Peter Anderson, said a further 64% of Australian workers believe that if they became unemployed a new job could be found quickly.

'This data confirms exactly what employers are reporting in Australian workplaces,' Anderson said. 'There is plenty of work around, good staff are hard to find and retain, and excellent conditions of employment are on offer.'

High level of security

Anderson said the fact that employees feel a very high level of security in their jobs 'blows a hole in the trade union campaign against WorkChoices, which falsely portrays Australian workplaces as conflict ridden and exploitative under the new industrial laws'.

'The easing of unfair dismissal laws, and the introduction of WorkChoices, has not seen mass sackings or stripping of employment rights as the union claimed. This data shows that it is not WorkChoices but the union claims about employer behaviour which are extreme and unfair.'

Gillard said employer groups are wrong to say there is no anxiety about the Federal Government's IR legislation.

People's concerns

'People approach me, they approach Members of Parliament every day of the week, talking about problems in their workplaces as a result of these laws,' she said. 'And for every case study you read about in the newspaper there are a thousand that lie behind, people who aren't prepared to complain publicly because they are still in that job.'

Gillard said there a recent poll said 40% of Australians, 'either themselves or knew someone who had been adversely affected by the Howard Government laws. Now that is a huge number ... '

Gillard also dismissed claims by the Minister for Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews, that the reaction from the Australian people can be dismissed because it is 'just like the reaction to the GST, it will all go away'.

'GST swing' would cost government

'Well I would seek to remind Minister Andrews that in 1998 when the Australian people voted on the GST, a significant number of seats changed hands and if the same number of seats changed at the next election, Labor would be in Government,' Gillard said. 'So I think it is arrogant for the Minister to say this is just like the GST, and what he is actually saying is if they lose the same number of seats they will lose the next election.'

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