Howard forced to deny planned changes to WorkChoices

News

Howard forced to deny planned changes to WorkChoices

Prime Minister John Howard has been forced to deny he is planning on toughening the WorkChoices legislation even further after Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, quoted comments from a senior Government Minister on such plans.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Prime Minister John Howard has been forced to deny he is planning on toughening the WorkChoices legislation even further after Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, quoted comments from a senior Government Minister on such plans.

'More to do'

Rudd quoted Finance Minister Nick Minchin as telling hard-line IR organisation the H R Nicholls Society: ' … There's much more to do … and I pray that we remain in Government and effect further change and I do ask for your forgiveness … that change has not been as rapid as you would've liked. This is evolution and there is a long way to go, awards, the IR Commission, all the rest of it.'

Get rid of awards, umpire

'This is the real agenda of the Howard Government on industrial relations,' Rudd said. 'We've just got to phase one with WorkChoices; phase two would occur if Howard's Government is re-elected.

'Howard yesterday said that he wouldn't rule out making further changes [Howard said there could be further "fine tuning"]. Senator Minchin has said what those changes would be - getting rid of awards, getting rid of the independent umpire.

'So, here's the challenge to Howard: Outline to the Australian people what further hardening of the industrial relations system you will undertake if you are re-elected as Prime Minister of Australia. Our policy's on the table, it's out there, it's plain for everyone to see. Now, I'm challenging Howard to do the same.'

No plans, says Howard

In a terse reply, Howard said the Government has no plans to harden current workplace relations legislation.

'Rudd's claim that my reference to 'fine-tuning' implies that I would contemplate removal of the fairness test, penalty rates, overtime and holiday leave loading is both dishonest and ludicrous,' Howard said. 'I totally reject the claim.

'The legislation is working well. Its repeal by a future Labor government would do great damage to the Australian economy, destroy jobs and, given the announcement made by Rudd earlier this week, introduce huge additional complexity into the operation of workplace relations laws.

Wild and untruthful claims

'Instead of making wild and untruthful claims Rudd should explain to Australians why he wants to dismantle a law which has helped create 387,000 new jobs, deliver higher real wages and the lowest level of industrial disputes in Australia since 1913.'

Related

Hockey forced to deny plan for 'tougher' IR laws

  

 

Post details