Govt Senators want changes to IR laws – but will pass them anyway

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Govt Senators want changes to IR laws – but will pass them anyway

Government Senators on the inquiry into the Federal Government’s IR legislation have recommended some slight changes – but will pass the Bill anyway if the changes are not made.

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Government Senators on the inquiry into the Federal Government’s IR legislation have recommended some slight changes – but will pass the Bill anyway if the changes are not made.

Seven recommendations for change from Government Senators

The seven recommendations for change include protection for outworker provisions in state awards and greater protection of the standard four weeks annual leave for full-time workers.  

The Senators also want assurance that full-time employees will always be paid for a 38-hour week.  

The legislation allows for the 38-hour week to be averaged over 12 months, which means employees could work, and be paid for, longer weeks at certain times of the year and shorter weeks at other times. 

Bill to pass anyway

However Committee chairwoman Liberal Senator Judith Troeth believes the Bill should pass the Senate whether the recommended changes are made or not ‘because we believe this bill in its present form will provide more jobs [and] higher wages’. 

ALP and Democrats oppose Bill

Committee deputy chairman and Labor senator Gavin Marshall said opposition senators believed the Government was taking an unnecessary risk with the economy through the Bill’s proposed changes. 

‘It has failed to make an empirical economic case for its industrial relations reforms,’ Senator Marshall said. 

‘It has failed to explain why a large unprotected underclass of workers and a widening gap between skilled and unskilled labour must be the price for its narrowly conceived vision of improved economic performance. 

‘The committee is concerned by the prospect that WorkChoices will be a blueprint for undoing the economic gains made over the last 15 years and will seriously threaten the quality of life and Australian society.’ 

The Democrats and Greens also argue against the Bill. They say it is based on ideology and is badly flawed. 

Family First amendments

Family First Senator Steve Fielding has also criticised the Bill, and proposed 10 amendments

Senator Fielding has attacked the bill’s lack of protection for public holidays, penalty rates and overtime, and its 38-hour week averaging provisions. 

‘I do not agree with our Prime Minister that businesses ought to be able to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year,’ he said in Adelaide on Friday. 

‘Nor do I agree with the Prime Minister that working at 1am is the same as working at 1pm, working on Saturday is the same as working on Wednesday and working on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day or Anzac Day is the same as working on any other day.’  

Related

Just five days of public hearings for Senate IR inquiry

WorkChoices: news update

 

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