Howard knew WorkChoices would hurt workers: Labor

News

Howard knew WorkChoices would hurt workers: Labor

The new biography of Prime Minister John Howard shows WorkChoices was ‘a calculated, cold blooded, premeditated act’ to damage Australian workers, Opposition IR spokeswoman Julia Gillard said at the weekend.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

The new biography of Prime Minister John Howard shows WorkChoices was ‘a calculated, cold blooded, premeditated act’ to damage Australian workers, Opposition IR spokeswoman Julia Gillard said at the weekend.

Gillard told a press conference that Howard’s biographers revealed that two cabinet ministers told them that in cabinet discussions it was talked about how people would lose out under WorkChoices but they ‘decided to go ahead with them anyway’.

'Howard has always maintained the fiction that he didn’t know these laws were going to hurt Australian working families,’ she said. 'Today we have information from the heart of the Howard Government that they always knew Australian working families would get hurt.

‘Australians today who have been hurt by these laws, who have lost pay, lost conditions … all of those workers and their families are entitled to say to Howard: “You knew this was going to happen to us, you planned it, this is your fault”.'

Young voters turning away

Gillard said newspapers are reporting that young voters are turning away from the Howard Government.

‘This is no surprise when it is young workers that have borne the brunt of WorkChoices,’ she said. ‘Young workers getting their first job … getting a job in a shop, getting a job in a take away store - it is these young Australians that are feeling the pain.

‘Howard always knew it was coming to Australian working families. This is just further evidence of just how much [he] has lost touch with the real needs and real lives of working Australians.

New level of arrogance

In answer to a question about whether the Government has shown a ‘new level of arrogance’, Gillard said: ‘It is an arrogant act to say that your personal political prejudice is worth more to you than the working conditions and lives of Australians.

‘Howard knew that Australians were going to lose pay and conditions, he knew it would affect their lives and he pushed ahead anyway.’

Fair to both sides

Gillard said Labor would bring in a fair and balanced IR system if it was elected to government.

‘This will certainly be one of the biggest issues of the election campaign and will be the issue that is fought against the backdrop of knowing that Howard always understood that Australians would be hurt by these laws,’ she said.

‘There is a pendulum in industrial relations, a pendulum that swings between the needs of employers and employees. Howard’s laws have taken that pendulum and put it up on the employer’s side. We want to make sure that it is dead centre, meeting the needs of both employers and employees, and making sure they are fair to both.’

Related

WorkChoices the 'killer' as voters flee Howard's Govt: ACTU

Kids on AWAs work longer for same pay, says survey
 

 

Post details