Labor under attack from Left and Right over IR

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Labor under attack from Left and Right over IR

The Liberal Party has accused the Labor Government of abandoning small business in favour of the unions, while the Greens say the Government has abandoned the workers.

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The Liberal Party has accused the Labor Government of abandoning small business in favour of the unions, while the Greens say the Government has abandoned the workers.

The Shadow Minister for Small Business, Steven Ciobo, said Labor must clarify whether ACTU president Sharon Burrow will have a stronger voice than its 10-member small business advisory group.

‘This comes after reports Labor is ignoring the recommendations of the advisory group and is in the pocket of the union, according to one source, when it comes to the Government’s revised unfair dismissal exemption,’ Ciobo said.

Appease trade unions

‘The Labor Party trumpeted they were establishing a small business advisory group to advise them on small business less than six months ago, and now, at the very first challenge, there are reports that indicate Labor will ignore its own small business group to appease the trade unions.

‘Because of Labor's union masters, the small business sector is being left in the dark about the Government’s new unfair dismissal laws.'

Ciobo said the Rudd Labor Government’s plan to radically wind back unfair dismissal laws to capture thousands of small businesses is going to further collapse small business confidence.

‘The Labor Minister [for Small Business, Craig Emerson] needs to listen to small business,’ he said. Labor set up a small business advisory group, but according to media reports, Labor doesn't like what it’s hearing.

Minimum of 15 staff

‘The advisory group has made it clear that Australia's small businesses want a formula where only businesses with 15 full-time equivalent staff were subject to Labor's new laws. That should be a minimum.’

Ciobo said industries like hospitality and tourism, two of Australia’s biggest employers, will feel the dead hand of government red-tape if Dr Emerson does not protect small-business people who hire a large number of casual staff.

Meanwhile, the Greens said Australians voted to get rid of WorkChoices at the last election ‘but instead we still have AWAs, millions of workers not protected from unfair dismissal and award conditions being stripped away’.

‘WorkChoices Lite’, say Greens

‘In fact what we are getting from this ALP Government is WorkChoices Lite,’ said senator Rachel Siewert.

‘The ALP wants us all to compare its industrial relations changes to WorkChoices, but a more apt comparison is the situation before the aberration of Work Choices. On this test the ALP is failing to provide fair workplace laws for Australian workers.’

Senator Siewart said ACTU survey results this week that showed people are impatient with the slow pace of IR reform ‘came as no surprise’ to the Greens.

Independent umpire

She said the polling showed 77% support for an independent umpire to settle disputes over agreements. And only the Australian Greens have an industrial relations policy that supports this position.

‘The Australian Greens are the only party in the current parliament to have consistently called for the immediate re-introduction of unfair dismissal protection and introduced amendments to that effect in March,’ said Senator Siewert. ‘Our amendments were defeated by the ALP and Opposition voting together.’


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