Polling shows Govt WorkChoices ads about 'getting re-elected'

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Polling shows Govt WorkChoices ads about 'getting re-elected'

Recent Government polling shows that the current TV ads extolling the virtues of WorkChoices are 'not about informing Australians about their rights but about the Government's desperate bid to be re-elected,' Labor's Julia Gillard said today.

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Recent Government polling shows that the current TV ads extolling the virtues of WorkChoices are 'not about informing Australians about their rights but about the Government's desperate bid to be re-elected,' Labor's Julia Gillard said today.

Last week a briefing paper by the Department of Workplace Relations (DEWR) which said the WorkChoices legislation had caused 'fear, panic, insecurity, cynicism, distrust and disempowerment in the community' was leaked to News Ltd newspapers.

The contents of the briefing paper also implied that the new head of the Workplace Authority, Barbara Bennett, was hired as much for her ability to appear on TV and 'sell' WorkChoices as for her administrative ability.

Working people hurt

According to the briefing paper, most people believe the WorkChoices industrial relations laws have hurt working people and their families.

As well, the public blames the reforms for a fundamental shift in the Australian way of life from 'work to live' to 'live to work'.

Gillard, who is Opposition spokeswoman on industrial relations, said at a press conference, the DEWR polling had taken place in April.

Millions of dollars in ads

'Then of course they engaged in some pre-election changes and they've put millions of dollars of advertising on our TV screens, on our radios and in our newspapers to try and persuade Australians that these aren't bad laws,' she said. 'Well, Australians know that they are bad laws and no amount of advertising is going to convince Australians that these laws are good for working families.

'This leaked polling told the Government to have an advertising campaign fronted by an apparently independent person and that is just what the Government has done with its campaign fronted by a public servant.

We now know the truth

'Now that this polling is out in the public, we know the truth. And the truth is these advertisements are nothing to do with informing Australians about their rights at work, these advertisements are all about the Government's desperate bid to be re-elected.

'These advertisements are politics, pure and simple yet they are being paid for, night after night, by Australian taxpayers.'

Govt 'caught out'

Journalist: 'The Government been caught out here hasn't it?'

Gillard: 'The Government has been completely caught out. This polling research has been leaked, this polling research shows where this advertising campaign came from.

'This advertising campaign didn't come from an intention to inform Australians about what they can and can't do at work. This campaign came from an intention to try and bolster their election chances.'

Dishonest union campaign, says Howard

At a press conference of his own, Prime Minister John Howard said the research was the product of 'a ferocious and dishonest fear campaign by the union movement'.

Questioner: 'But it's a worry isn't it? If you think, if there's that sort of panic and fear about one of your laws?'

Howard: 'The laws are not as represented by the Labor Party. The laws are those as represented by the advertisements the Government is now running which are obviously being effective, they're telling the truth and that is why the person speaking on them, the head of the Workplace Authority, is being attacked by the union movement. She is just stating the facts. She's not taking sides.'

'I'm okay'

'What people say to me about these laws is "I'm okay, I haven't been affected, my kid hasn't been sacked or intimidated, but I hear that it might be going on" - that is the feedback I get.'

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