Moving from WorkChoices to new system 'hard', admits Rudd

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Moving from WorkChoices to new system 'hard', admits Rudd

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has admitted that Labor still has 'further work to do' on the method of transition from WorkChoices to its new industrial relations system, some of which was announced yesterday.

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Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has admitted that Labor still has 'further work to do' on the method of transition from WorkChoices to its new industrial relations system, some of which was announced yesterday.

In a question and answer session after Rudd’s address to the National Press Club, Rudd was asked what he would do if the infrastructure set out in the WorkChoices legislation had already been set up for Fair Pay Commission to administer?

Future of AIRC

'What are you going to do with the Industrial Relations Commission?' he was asked. 'Will you restore it, as it were, to former glory?'

Rudd said this was a good question, but he couldn't give an immediate answer.

'It will be part of what we do release by way of subsequent policy and that will be in the months ahead,' he said.

Rudd said one of the challenges if Labor was elected to Government would be 'what we do in terms of transition from the existing system to this new system'.

'We don't pretend that's easy, it's hard, and one of the reasons we're taking particular time on institutional arrangements as well as the future of transitional arrangements for existing AWAs is we've got further work to do on that.'

Business issues

Rudd was then asked how much 'stomach' business would have, to adapt to a new system after spending 18 months adapting to WorkChoices.

'Part of answer lies in how we actually engineer transitional arrangements,' he said. 'I don't come from an anti-business view, I come from a strongly pro-business view. I'm a big supporter of the way in which enterprise bargaining's worked in the past. We also need flexibility through common law agreements etc.

'So, we're not going to be cavalier about this, that's why it's taking some time to work through.'

Rudd said some businesses preferred enterprise agreements in their current form 'by a country mile', as it makes life a lot simpler and easier for them, while 'others have a different view'.

'But we think we'll get the transitional arrangements right. Will everyone shout from the rooftops and say this is the most perfect set of transitional arrangements since sliced bread? No. But we will make it work.'

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