Nationals start to wobble on IR laws

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Nationals start to wobble on IR laws

Opposition IR spokesman Stephen Smith says if Coalition MPs do not support John Howard’s industrial relations reforms, the Australian public should not be expected to either.

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Opposition IR spokesman Stephen Smith says if Coalition MPs do not support John Howard’s industrial relations reforms, the Australian public should not be expected to either.

Queensland Nationals leader urges rejection of legislation

Queensland Nationals leader Lawrence Springborg has urged National Senators Ron Boswell and Barnaby Joyce to ‘urgently reject’ the workplace reforms, in particular penalty rates and working hours. 

ALP reaction

Opposition industrial relations spokesman Stephen Smith today said the move proved the public should not be expected to back the changes.  

‘If John Howard is unable to convince his colleagues to accept the government’s reforms, how will he be able to convince the Australian public to trust him?’ Smith told a media conference in Sydney. 

‘He should kill the Bill, drop the Bill, and the Queensland Senators should listen to calls from Springborg and not support the legislation when it goes into Parliament in the next couple of weeks.’  

Senate inquiry - 'at the margins'

Smith said the amendments to the legislation recommended by a Senate committee inquiry did not go far enough.  

‘They are really at the margins,’ he said. ‘It [the committee] didn’t even have the courage to really recommend changes ... all of the amendments that have been  suggested by the Senate committee, and by others, are really tinkering at the edges.’ 

Smith said the Bill was a ‘fundamental attack’ on the living standards of Australian families.

‘It will leave us with an American-style working poor,’ he said. ‘Its outcome will be un-Australian.’

Nationals meet tomorrow - debate continues

Senator Joyce, whose Senate vote will be crucial, says he will listen carefully to what his colleagues have to say at a meeting tomorrow. 

But Nationals Deputy Leader Warren Truss says he still expects his Queensland colleagues to support the legislation. 

‘I don’t believe the Nationals in Queensland will lose the nerve for industrial relations reform,’ Truss said. 

Queensland National Party Management Committee member Joy Drescher says she is sceptical about the legislation, particularly regarding penalty rates and the loss of state awards.

Drescher says she would like to see the Senators ensure workers are protected.  

‘They need to have enough money so that they can bring up their kids, pay off the house, pay off their car,’ she said. 

‘There is absolutely no point in any worker being paid a small amount. Quite frankly, I don’t particularly care for these contracts where people only get to work for a small period of time.’

Drescher welcomed the chance to discuss the proposed IR changes at the Committee meeting tomorrow. 

Related 

Govt Senators want changes to IR laws – but will pass them anyway

 

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