IR laws on time, and ‘unfair dismissals’ could come early: Gillard

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IR laws on time, and ‘unfair dismissals’ could come early: Gillard

Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard has denied reports that the Government’s IR legislation has been delayed and says it will be before Parliament later this year.

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Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard has denied reports that the Government’s IR legislation has been delayed and says it will be before Parliament later this year.

And she held out an 'olive branch' to an increasingly frustrated trade union movement by indicating that parts of the legislation will be activated before the 1 January 2010 starting date for the Fair Work Australia IR system.

Early start possible for ‘unfairs’

Unions will be hoping that one of the parts brought on stream early will be the unfair dismissal laws, and Gillard has suggested that could be the case.

Reports in The Australian yesterday (12 August) said that the Government’s IR legislation would not make it into Parliament before 2009 due to drafting delays.

Gillard has told ABC radio that this is ‘not correct’.

‘I read that in the newspapers this morning with some surprise - because no, that’s not correct,’ she said.

‘We’ve always said that our substantive industrial relations Bill would be in the parliament in the second half of this year. And it will be.'

‘Worst aspects of WorkChoices gone’

‘And we’ve already substantially taken away the worst aspects of WorkChoices,'  Gillard said.

Interviewer:'But not unfair dismissal. And you had held out the prospect that that would have an earlier start.'

Gillard: ‘What I’ve always said is the substantive Bill, which will deal with unfair dismissal, would be in the parliament in the second half of this year. And we will look when the Bill is through the parliament - and I say “when” because obviously we’ve got to deal with a Senate with a Coalition which is still in the embrace of WorkChoices.'

‘But when the Bill is through the parliament we will obviously be bringing on stream the parts that we can as soon as possible.’

Gillard said the Government had already blocked the making of new AWAs as it had promised during the election campaign.

‘Not quick enough’ say unions

But unions have said the pace of reform is not quick enough, and they want the existing unfair dismissal laws replaced and are agitating for the abolition, or at least substantial demolition, of the ABCC.

Opposition IR spokeswoman Julie Bishop said Gillard had rejected a chance to restore full unfair dismissal rights earlier this year when the Democrats had moved an amendment to Labor legislation to reinstate unfair dismissal claims.

She said Gillard had ordered Labor senators to vote against it.

‘If WorkChoices is as bad as Julia Gillard is continually claiming, why will it end up remaining longer under Labor than the Coalition?’ Bishop said.

She said employers were worried about hiring new employees, knowing Labor planned to restore unfair dismissal rights to all workers.


Related


Unions will have to cop IR changes, says Gillard

Govt ‘hypocritical’ over WorkChoices, says Bishop
 

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