Coalition calls for tougher industrial action laws


Coalition calls for tougher industrial action laws

The Coalition IR shadow minister, Eric Abetz, has called for tougher laws to counter union industrial action in light of the current Grocon dispute.


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The Coalition IR shadow minister, Eric Abetz, has called for tougher laws to counter union industrial action in light of the current Grocon dispute.

Here are some of his comments from a recent media interview:
‘What Australians are facing and seeing on their TV screens is absolute anarchy and all that Bill Shorten is willing to do is to say that he is willing to discuss and talk and negotiate with people that are acting in defiance of the law, breaching the rule of law and are seeking to blackmail employers …

Now if you talk with blackmailers all they’ll do is push and push you further. What Bill Shorten and the Government need to say is that they have a zero tolerance for breach of law and as a result these sorts of stoppages and pickets, thuggery and intimidation have to stop. Once they’ve stopped, that is when the talking should start, not whilst they are engaged in this illegality …

The Coalition had a Policy in place that worked and that was called the Australian Building and Construction Commission and The Green Labor Alliance deliberately dismantled that. It is a bit like Border Protection. They dismantled Border Protection. The boats started coming. They dismantled the ABCC and guess what, the thuggery is back in the workplace, the intimidation, the breach of the rule of law etc, all back in the equation and the green Labor alliance scratch their head and wonder why. The reason is that they have dismantled good effective laws that brought law and order back to the construction sector …

Bill Shorten continually struggles with whether he is the ex union boss which he is, or whether he is the Minister of the Crown which is his current responsibility. He has a responsibility to the Australian people and for him to seek to negotiate in circumstances where people are deliberately and wilfully breaking law is tantamount to condoning that behaviour. When he was interviewed recently he was asked, “Is this picket unlawful?” and he said, “The courts will have to determine that”. In other words, he himself is not willing to say publicly that it is unlawful. So the employers know on whose side Bill Shorten is on and with these ugly scenes Bill Shorten is on the ugly side and the wrong side …

Regrettably the Government has taken a lot of the tools out of their toolkit by getting rid of the Australian Building and Construction Commission. But Bill Shorten has to say zero-tolerance for illegality and the talking only starts once the illegal activities have stopped …’
Ai Group wants more flexibility in workplace laws
Meanwhile, Innes Willox, CEO of the Australian Industry Group, called for more flexibility in workplace laws when asked about the Coalition’s IR policies:
‘… what the Coalition is doing is trying to work towards a coherent industrial relations policy for the next election. Step one, they have to have a policy that is clear in its intent. They can’t have a 2010 policy which was really a nothing policy when it came to industrial relations. They can’t do that again.

There needs to be greater flexibility in workplaces. That isn’t code for wage cutting. It’s just code to improve our productivity and to create jobs. That’s what flexibility means. There needs to be some improvements around flexibility arrangements at the moment under the Fair Work Review, so that people can’t get out of agreements that they’ve made with a month’s notice. These have to be long term arrangements …

We don’t want to go back to a no disadvantage test situation not being there. That was a mistake from the Coalition, they admit that. But we do need to build more flexibility into the system. That’s why this Fair Work Review, the Government’s response to it and the Coalition’s response to it, for that matter, are very important to our productivity and flexibility as an economy, going forward …’
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