Call for longer Senate IR inquiry as Govt  slumps in polls

News

Call for longer Senate IR inquiry as Govt slumps in polls

As the Federal Government’s popularity nosedives over its handling of the new IR laws, the Opposition has called for a much longer Senate scrutiny of the legislation

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

As the Federal Government’s popularity nosedives over its handling of the new IR laws, the Opposition has called for a much longer Senate scrutiny of the legislation.

Opposition spokesman on Industrial Relations, Stephen Smith, said the current plans were for a maximum five days of hearings, all in Canberra.

Newspoll

The latest Newspoll, published in today’s Australian, shows that Labor would have been returned to power in a landslide had an election been held now.

The poll shows people have responded very negatively to the forthcoming IR legislation, with a majority believing it will be bad for the economy, bad for creating jobs, and will make people worse off.

ALP attack

Smith said the Government is engaged in a deliberate attempt to try to ‘slide this extreme legislation through without any proper or effective scrutiny’. 

‘It’s quite clear that the more the community becomes aware of the extreme nature and detail of the legislation, the more concerned they become,’ Smith said.

He said the Government wants to get the legislation through without people appreciating how ‘vulnerable’ they are.

Smith said that legislation of this nature had received much longer scrutiny in the past.

'Whether it was the Government’s 1996 legislation, or major industrial relations legislation in 1999, we saw Senate inquiries which lasted two to three months,’ he said.

‘We saw Senate Committees going around the nation giving everyone in Australia, the outlying States, people in the capital cities, and people in rural and regional Australia, an opportunity of making an input. 

‘Here we see the Government desperate to avoid scrutiny, desperate to limit this to hearings in Canberra, and excluding important aspects like unfair dismissal. 

'Where will the opportunity be for State Governments to make submissions to a Senate Inquiry in their own capital cities? 

‘Where will be the opportunity for people who live in rural and regional Australia to make submissions? 

‘Where will the opportunities be for community leaders, like the Churches, the bishops and the archbishops from the capital cities and the regional centres, to make their submissions?’ 

Legislation to be introduced next week

 

Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews has indicated the legislation will be produced on Wednesday or Thursday next week. It was originally intended to be brought into Parliament some time in October.

Democrats leader Senator Lyn Allison said delaying the introduction of the industrial relations reform legislation until late next week would reduce the time the Senate has to properly scrutinise the Bill.

'This critical legislation introduces fundamental changes to the industrial relations system which will have major impact on Australians and their families, and will transform six systems into one, against the wishes of the States,’ Senator Allison said.

‘Because the states will seek to frustrate the system, the legislation is bound to be complex and convoluted. A two-week inquiry will be woefully inadequate to examine the detail.

‘If the Government really thinks that this legislation is in the best interest of Australians, they should not be afraid of a comprehensive Parliamentary Inquiry.’

Allison said the Government’s industrial relations changes, in combination with welfare changes, are not about choice and productivity; they are designed to exploit vulnerable members of Australian society, in exchange for greater company profit.

‘The Government has publicly admitted that the young, unskilled and those with little choice will have to take low paid, inflexible jobs, to get a foot in the door,’ she said.

‘What is this if it is not exploitation?’

Related

The new IR laws – employers will get what they want, eventually

 

  

Post details