Coalition’s IR policy goes missing, and so does Abetz

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Coalition’s IR policy goes missing, and so does Abetz

Despite a promise on 17 July that the Coalition industrial relations policy would be released ‘very shortly’, it still has not appeared, and IR spokesman Eric Abetz has gone missing, the ACTU maintains.

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Despite a promise on 17 July that the Coalition industrial relations policy would be released ‘very shortly’, it still has not appeared, and IR spokesman Eric Abetz has gone missing, the ACTU maintains.
 
In fact, the ACTU has announced a reward of ‘12 WorkChoices mousepads’ for anyone who can find him.
 
Abetz was asked on ABC news on 17 July when the IR policy would be announced and said: ‘We’ll be announcing our full policy, I used to say in due course, I can now say very shortly.’
 
Policy silence
 
Since then there has been silence on the policy release.
 
Earlier in the campaign, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said there would be no changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 during his first term, however Abetz said the legislation could be ‘tweaked’.
 
Since that time the ACTU, the HR Nichols Society and University of Adelaide law professor Andrew Stewart have pointed out that ‘radical’ changes could be made to the Fair Work Act by regulation.
 
Changes by regulation
 
Such changes could include adjustments to the unfair dismissal provisions, workplace flexibility and the payment of overtime and penalty rates.
 
Such changes would apply from the moment new regulations were made. They then must be tabled in the Senate within six days and Senators have 15 sitting days in which to challenge them. There are then 15 sitting days for the challenge to be dealt with.
 
If the regulations are made when the Senate is not sitting, they could be in place and operating for up to six months before they can be challenged.
 
Abbott and Abetz have repeatedly expressed their opposition to unfair dismissal laws applying to small business, and indicated their support for a return to individual contracts.
 
Gospel truth
 
IR Minister Simon Crean pointed out today that Abbott said on The 7.30 Report that only ‘carefully prepared scripted remarks’ need to be taken as ‘gospel truth’.
 
‘If we can only trust what is written down, where is it, where is his policy?’ Crean said.
 
‘Tony Abbott says that WorkChoices is dead. But if WorkChoices was really dead, Tony Abbott would have no problem releasing the body for examination.’
 
Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon said it was appalling the Liberal Party has failed to release a detailed IR policy in this election and that Australians should vote tomorrow on their record as the party that introduced WorkChoices.
 
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