'I'll quit if WorkChoices is changed', says Hockey

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'I'll quit if WorkChoices is changed', says Hockey

Following accusations by Labor that a re-elected Coalition Government plans to further toughen the WorkChoices laws, Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey has vowed he would quit as Minister if that happened.

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Following accusations by Labor that a re-elected Coalition Government plans to further toughen the WorkChoices laws, Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey has vowed he would quit as Minister if that happened.

Finance Minister, Nick Minchin told the H R Nicholls Society last year that there was more to do with the Government's industrial relations policy, including abolishing the AIRC. He apologised to the society that the current IR laws had not gone far enough.

And Treasurer Peter Costello is on the record as saying that only a minimum wage was required, that all unfair dismissal laws should go, and the rest should be negotiated at workplace level.

Personal integrity

However, on Channel 7 Hockey said he would put his personal integrity on the line over the issue.

'I will resign as a Minister in the Howard government if there are any substantial changes or any of the changes that Julia Gillard has just flagged,' Hockey said. 'They can run all the scares they want, but the bottom line is if we are making any substantial changes to our laws then I will resign.'

Only administrative changes

Hockey said the only changes that would be made would be administrative.

'We're not changing the law so that it reverses any of the major initiatives that we've put in place because we have said our policy is what we delivered,' he said. 'If we are going to do anything, it is about administration but we are not changing the law because it is creating new jobs and higher wages.'

'Meaningless' promise, says Della Bosca

However, NSW IR Minister, John Della Bosca said Hockey's promise to resign was 'meaningless' because there were already changes to WorkChoices locked in for 2009.

'Workers benefiting from State Awards who have been dragged into WorkChoices will lose their current protections when their awards expire in March 2009,' he said.

'These workers can be forced onto individual contracts where they can have their wages cut and entitlements stripped away,' he said.

'And if you think the so-called fairness test will save them - think again. The fairness test will only compare the agreement against a designated Federal award, which in the meantime has been "rationalised".

'Already the test doesn't guarantee the retention of important conditions such as redundancy pay or paid maternity leave.

'Joe Hockey should do the honourable thing and resign now because we know for a fact that changes are on the way.'

Can't be trusted

Labor's IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard said the coalition could not be trusted after Costello said he wanted to take WorkChoices further.

'They are not my words, they're his words out of his own mouth on the public record,' she said.

Labor would overhaul the WorkChoices laws with a 'whole new act of parliament', Gillard said.

'The act known as WorkChoices - which we weren't told about before the last election, not the name or the substance - wasn't in your policy and certainly your current unfair dismissal policy wasn't in your policy,' she said.

Fair and balanced

'We will get rid of that act. We will put in its place a system we say is fair and balanced.'

Gillard said Labor would keep right-of-entry rules for trade union officials, and guarantee a fair industrial umpire, family friendly conditions and collective bargaining

Related

Awards, AIRC under attack in new IR changes - says Minister

Howard can't be trusted on IR says Labor, unions

Hockey forced to deny plan for 'tougher' IR laws

 

 

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