Libs the roadblock to national IR system - Gillard

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Libs the roadblock to national IR system - Gillard

IR Minister Julia Gillard has accused the Liberal Party of attempting to stop the creation of a national workplace relations system, despite being in favour of such a system.

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IR Minister Julia Gillard has accused the Liberal Party of attempting to stop the creation of a national workplace relations system, despite being in favour of such a system.
 
The Opposition’s shadow minister for Industrial Relations, Michael Keenan, yesterday called for the facilitation legislation currently before Parliament to be defeated because the states were ‘unfit’ for it.
 
Keenan said the government was ‘irresponsible and reckless’ in handing power to the states, which will have a veto if two-thirds of them reject future amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009.
 
Gillard said the opposition to the legislation was despite the Liberals repeatedly declaring their devotion to a national workplace relations system for the private sector.
 
‘The Liberals have also repeatedly declared their support for the modernisation and simplification of awards, going so far as to vote in support of the process in February 2008,’ she said.
 
‘Mammoth back flip’
 
‘This mammoth back flip can be explained by the Liberals determination to frustrate debate in the Australian Parliament for its own political point scoring and its secret plans to bring back WorkChoices.
 
‘In announcing that it will oppose the creation of a national workplace relations system for the private sector, the Liberals have confirmed their place in Australian politics as political opportunists and workplace relations extremists.’
 
‘In opposing this legislation, the Liberal Party is opposing an historic reform that will end the inefficiency, uncertainty and complexity faced by Australian businesses, particularly small business.’
 
‘In opposing this legislation, the Liberal Party is ignoring the Australian people who overwhelmingly voted against WorkChoices and for the new national Fair Work system.’
 
Gillard said that over the last two years, the government has worked constructively with each state government to deliver a national workplace relation system for the private sector.
 
SA votes ‘yes’
 
Overnight, the South Australian Parliament passed legislation that will deliver a simpler and more efficient workplace relations system for South Australian businesses.
 
Late last week, the Queensland and Tasmanian Parliaments passed legislation that will ensure employers and employees in the private sector in those states are covered by the new national workplace relations system.
 
Victoria confirmed the continuing referral of its powers to the Commonwealth in June.
 
New South Wales yesterday announced it would be referring its IR powers, including coverage of electricity and water employees.
 
Western Australia, which has the only state Liberal Government, has refused to join the national system and has commissioned a report into its state industrial relations system.
 
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