‘No worker will be worse off,’ promises Gillard

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‘No worker will be worse off,’ promises Gillard

Deputy Prime Minister and IR Minister Julia Gillard has guaranteed no workers will be worse off under Labor’s workplace relations system - something the Howard Government continually refused to do about WorkChoices.

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Deputy Prime Minister and IR Minister Julia Gillard has guaranteed no workers will be worse off under Labor’s workplace relations system - something the Howard Government continually refused to do about WorkChoices.

Speaking on Sky News, Gillard was asked to give such a guarantee after the passing of the interim IR legislation last week.

‘Our Bill is about making people better off and it will, and I can give the guarantee that no worker, from the Bill we have passed into Australian law, will be worse off,’ Gillard said.

Guarantee

‘I am certainly able to guarantee that under the Bill that passed the parliament … workers will not be disadvantaged by Labor’s new laws, they will be substantially better off.’

When Howard Government Ministers were asked this question about WorkChoices, their reply was always that workers would be better off because they would have jobs.

Gillard also defended the Government’s putting forward a motion in Parliament after the legislation passed calling for a commitment from both sides that a new version of WorkChoices would never be introduced in the future.

The Opposition was ambushed by this motion and, after lengthy and acrimonious manoeuvring in the House of Representatives, refused to vote in favour of it.

‘Just a stunt’

Gillard was asked whether this was ‘just a stunt’ and whether the Government was just ‘rubbing their noses in it’.

‘We thought Australian working families should have the security of knowing whether WorkChoices is dead forever or there was some risk it could come back in the future,’ Gillard said.

‘We required them in the Parliament to answer that question through the way they voted and they voted clearly to leave it open; to re-introduce WorkChoices and to re-introduce Australian Workplace Agreements.’

Interviewer: ‘But does it really matter. You’re in the Government, you’re in Government for the next three years, you’re talking about something way down the track. Isn’t [it] just rubbing their nose in it?’

Mandate respected

‘At the last election I believe Australians voted to get rid of WorkChoices forever and they’re entitled to know whether that mandate is being respected; whether we are getting rid of WorkChoices forever,’ Gillard said.

‘It’s the Rudd Labor Government’s intention to put Work Choices in a coffin and to bury it and indeed we’ve started this burial process with this Bill that cleared the Parliament and we want to make sure that it is never exhumed.'

‘That people are never at risk of WorkChoices and Australian Workplace Agreements in the future.'

‘Unfortunately, when you ask the Liberal Party today did they want to join us in signing the death certificate of WorkChoices, they made it very clear, they want WorkChoices exhumed in the future, if they are ever in Government again WorkChoices will be back and Australian Workplace Agreements will be back.’


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