IR news briefs 25/10/05


IR news briefs 25/10/05

Recent IR news: Work or lose the dole plan attacked; Vic briefings on new High Court OK to Government advertising.


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Recent IR news: Work or lose the dole plan attacked; Vic briefings on new IR law ;and High Court OK to Federal Government advertising.


Work or lose the dole plan attacked

The weekend admission that unemployed people who refuse a job because of pay or conditions will lose welfare benefits has brought a storm of protest from non-Government political parties.

The admission was made on the ABC on Sunday by the Minister for Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews, who repeated the comment ‘the best kind of welfare is a job’.

ALP reaction

Stephen Smith, Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, said the statement ‘made it clear that the Government doesn’t care that people won’t have choice.'

‘And it won’t just be unemployed people trying to find jobs, it will be employees moving from job to job, and it’ll be the four million Australian employees who are at risk of having their unfair dismissal rights taken away,’ he said.

'The Government’s entirely happy to force people on to lower wages, and inferior conditions.’

He said Labor would make this a defining issue of the next election.

Senator Penny Wong, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, said that vulnerable Australians are faced with one miserable work choice: get exploited or get nothing.

‘Under these extreme changes, vulnerable Australians will have virtually no bargaining power,’ she said. ‘Employers will know that no matter how bad the job offer, the person has to take it or lose income support payments.’


The Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Lyn Allison, said the Government argues that 4 out of 10 workers move on to other jobs. 

‘What about the other 60% who are trapped in a vicious cycle of low paid unskilled work, that provides no training, no security, and no flexibility to balance family needs?

‘Productivity can be achieved in other ways. Why exploit workers; why go down the path that will destroy our fair go society?’


Meanwhile the Greens have called for all full-time employees to have the right to refuse to work on Sundays without risking their job.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokeswoman on industrial relations, called on the Howard Government to enshrine in law the right for workers to maintain the sanctity of Sunday as the day for family life.

‘Sundays play an important role in Australian family and cultural life,’ said Senator Siewert. ‘If the Howard Government wants to continue to say it cares about family life, then it must stand up for families rights to demand not just time away from work, but time with each other.’

‘The Greens want the right to refuse to work on Sundays to be protected by law in the same way that rights to maternity leave are protected,’ said Senator Siewert.

'The Greens will push to ensure that the definition of standard hours is 38 hours from Mondays to Fridays,’ she said. 

Vic briefings on new IR laws


A series of briefings will be held in Victoria in November and December to inform employers on the detail of the Federal Government’s new IR legislation, due to be released next week.

The briefings, by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI), will will also update VECCI members on implementation of the recent ‘Work and Family’ case, and pending changes to Victoria’s long service leave laws, which come into effect on 1 January 2006.

The briefings will be held at:

  • Preston, Thursday 3 November, Rydges on Bell 9.30-11.30am ;

  • Dandenong, Wednesday 9 November, Dandenong Club 9.30-11.30am;

  • East Melbourne, Tuesday 15 November, VECCI 9.30-11.30am;

  • Geelong, Wednesday 16 November, Kirrewur Court 5.30-7.30pm ;

  • Bendigo, Monday 21 November, Foundry Hotel 4.00-6.00pm;

  • Footscray, Tuesday 29 November, Ted Whitten Oval 9.30-11.30am;

  • Wodonga, Wednesday 30 November, Comfort Inn & Suites 9.30-11.30am;

  • Traralgon, Thursday 1 December, Century Inn 5.30-7.30pm;

  • Shepparton, Monday 5 December, Sundowner Parklake 4.00-6.00pm;

  • Ballarat, Wednesday 7 December, Bell Tower Inn 5.30-7.30pm; and

  • Mildura, Thursday 8 December, Mildura Grand Hotel 5.30-7.30pm


For information and/or registrations,

email VECCI Events or phone (03) 8662 5330.

High Court OK to Federal Government advertising


By 5:2 the High Court refused to block the federal Government's use of public money to fund its advertising campaign on its IR proposals. Detailed reasons have now been released.

The majority noted that the legislation requires the expenditure may only be applied

'for the departmental expenditure' of the Department.


But the Act imposes no narrower restriction on the scope of the expenditure. Therefore it did not matter whether any part of the money is spent otherwise than on activities leading to higher productivity or higher pay workplaces (or activities forming part of either of the other two outcomes), so long as it is 'departmental expenditure'.

Combet v Commonwealth of Australia [2005] HCA 61 (21 October 2005)


Federal IR changes 2005

Govt IR ads could go on for a year, Opposition warns



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