Labor to back fairness test, says Gillard

News

Labor to back fairness test, says Gillard

The ALP, which has savagely attacked the new AWA fairness test, has decided to vote for it in Parliament, and a major employer group which says it is unnecessary and 'disappointing' has welcomed its methodology.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

The ALP, which has savagely attacked the new AWA fairness test, has decided to vote for it in Parliament, and a major employer group which says it is unnecessary and 'disappointing' has welcomed its methodology.

Opposition IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard, said this morning that she will be recommending to Labor Caucus today that Labor support the legislation.

She said that while the fairness test would make 'only a 1% difference, we don't want to stand in the way of that 1% difference'.

'What we want to do is, we want to argue the real issue, and the real issue isn't what [Prime Minister John] Howard put before the Parliament yesterday, the real issue is getting rid of his WorkChoices laws, lock, stock and barrel,' Gillard said. 'Is there any Australian who would really believe that Howard would have brought this bill to the Parliament if we weren't in an election year?

'Is there anyone who would really believe that? After each and every day since his extreme WorkChoices laws went into operation, he got up and defended the unfairness, time and time again.

'Howard hasn't changed his mind, the only thing that has changed is that we are in an election year and he thinks he needs some clever politics in the lead-up to the election.'

Fundamental unfairness

Gillard said the fairness test 'won't fix the fundamental unfairness at the heart of Howard's extreme industrial relations laws'.

She offered as an example a case she used in Parliament yesterday:

'A mum working in a shop in Victoria, she has got childcare arrangements. Currently, she gets 14 days notice if her roster is going to change. She could be put on an AWA which would mean she would get an hour notice of a roster change. There is nothing in Howard's bill that fixes that. There is nothing in Howard's bill that fixes the fundamental unfairness at the heart of Work Choices.'

Not necessary says ACCI

Meanwhile, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) maintained its disappointment at the imposition of the new fairness test on agreement making under WorkChoices.

ACCI reiterated its view of that the Government 'did not need to add to the workplace safety net in this way'. However, ACCI Chief Executive, Peter Hendy, said that with the introduction of the amendments yesterday, 'it was welcome that the Government intends to properly support the implementation of its new test'.

He said key ongoing priorities must include ensuring that:

  • the industrial relations system encourages more employers and employees to enter into agreements, and
  • administrative requirements for agreement making do not delay the process or discourage any workplace from pursing agreed priorities

'Yesterday's amendments appear to offer scope for a practical and efficient fairness test process, but this will need to be monitored over time,' Hendy said. 'It is also positive that the Government has allocated significant resources to ensure the new test does not slow the making of either AWAs or collective agreements.

Related

How the fairness test will work in practice

Money the key to fairness test, says Hockey

Howard won't guarantee all AWAs will be 'fair'

Howard's 'Big Brother' fairness test
  

 

Post details