Gillard in IR talks with Greens, independents

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Gillard in IR talks with Greens, independents

Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard is today meeting with the Greens and the two independent Senators to discuss changes to the new IR legislation – but won’t say what kind of amendments she will accept.

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Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard is today meeting with the Greens and the two independent Senators to discuss changes to the new IR legislation — but won’t say what kind of amendments she will accept.
 
Gillard stonewalled under questioning on the ABC’s AM radio program this morning and would only say she is willing to accept ‘technical amendments’.
 
If, as expected, the Coalition votes against aspects of the legislation, the Government will need the votes of the Greens and Senators Xenophon and Fielding to get the legislation through.
 
Too much power
 
Fielding has gone on record as saying unions get too much power under the legislation.
 
On AM, Gillard said she was talking to the Greens and independents because ‘I know they opposed WorkChoices — so, broadly, they are on the same page as the Government’.
 
However it was pointed out that she was not meeting them because they agree with her but ‘because you’re worried that they’ve got some complaints about this legislation which will hold it up’.
 
People of goodwill
 
‘I’m meeting them because I’m identifying them as people of goodwill who are prepared to talk with a view to getting this legislation through and sweeping away Work Choices,’ she said.
 
Gillard also said she did not know how the Liberals would vote after a fortnight’s debate in the Senate.
 
‘I made the error of listening to their leader Malcolm Turnbull who said when the Fair Work Bill went into the House of Representatives late last year that WorkChoices was dead and that he recognised the Government’s mandate for this Bill,’ she said.
 
‘That’s what Malcolm Turnbull said. Now of course, with Peter Costello snapping at his heels Mr Turnbull doesn’t know what he stands for.'
 
Libs ‘back WorkChoices’
 
‘The key divide in the Liberal Party here it seems to me is, they’re all in favour of WorkChoices they’re just divided between the people who want to be truthful about it like Costello and the people like Turnbull who want to hide their support of WorkChoices.’
 
Asked if she was prepared to compromise on the legislation, Gillard said Labor took a very detailed policy to the last election and was going to deliver ‘what the Australian people voted for’.
 
Good times and bad
 
Asked whether the current economic crisis would mean there has to be changes, Gillard said the Bill was drafted for good times and bad.
 
‘We wrote this workplace relations legislation hoping to get stable workplace relations for the next ten to twenty years in this country,’ she said.
 
‘Instead of this being one of the big political fighting grounds, we wanted to get a stable system.'
 
Gillard said it’s ‘always the right time for fairness at work and it’s always the right time for a workplace relations system focused on cooperative workplace relations and driving up productivity — and that’s what this Fair Work Bill does.’
 
Gillard said that by refusing to recognise Labor’s IR mandate the Liberal Party was ‘spitting in the face of the Australian people’.
 
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