Gillard on IR reform

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Gillard on IR reform

Julia Gillard has revealed a new unit within the Department of Workplace Relations that will be central to a move to a national IR system.

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Julia Gillard has revealed a new unit within the Department of Workplace Relations that will be central to a move to a national IR system.

The Deputy Prime Minister also confirmed that the introduction of the Transition Bill in the new parliament commencing on 12 February will end the ability of anyone to make an Australian Workplace Agreement. She also urged unions to be restrained in their wage demands and employers to be responsible in order to contain inflation.

New unit

When asked about the role of the new IR unit Gillard commented:

'We are working in a consultative way on everything we do in industrial relations. …  In preparing the Transition Bill, we’ve been meeting with employers, with unions; I’ve convened on more than one occasion the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council and indeed it is meeting again today. We are also working with our State and Territory colleagues.'

States and national system

On the possible reluctance of some states to handover IR powers to the Federal Government, Gillard noted:

'We want to see cooperation in industrial relations and we particularly want to deliver a uniform national system for the private sector; so people who are working in business don’t get tied up in unnecessary red tape, wondering what industrial relations laws apply to them.

We’ve said to our State and Territory colleagues that we want to work with them on achieving a national system for the private sector.

That can be achieved by a referral of powers; it can be achieved by harmonising laws. But we want to make sure that for people in the private sector they aren’t ever left wondering: is it State law that applies to me or Federal law that applies to me?

That they know what law applies and that they are able to work within it. Its part of making sure that our industrial relations system is as simple as possible, as well as fair.'

Restraint

On the economic outlook, Gillard said that the Government is obviously going to lead by example with a prudent budget and a call to employers and employees and trade unions to also show restraint.

AWAs

Gillard also confirmed that the making of new AWAs will soon be blocked:

' ... the bill we will be bringing to the Parliament in the first week of Parliament is our Transition Bill. What it will do is it will end the ability of anyone to make an Australian Workplace Agreement and we know those agreements have stripped away basic conditions from some of the lowest paid and most at risk workers in this society.'

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