Rudd’s IR system ‘keeps the best of  WorkChoices’: Democrats

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Rudd’s IR system ‘keeps the best of WorkChoices’: Democrats

The Federal Government transitional IR system retains the ‘best features of WorkChoices’ according to Australian Democrats senator Andrew Murray.

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The Federal Government transitional IR system retains the ‘best features of WorkChoices’ according to Australian Democrats senator Andrew Murray.

‘They’re retaining the impetus to a unitary system, they’re retaining the idea of a strong regulator and they’re retaining many of the aspects of award modernisation which were previously resisted,’ Senator Murray said.

‘It’s a much fairer system and it retains some of the good aspects of the previous systems.’

He said the Senate inquiry into new workplace laws, which reported on Monday (17 March), shows the upper house review system is back to working in the way it should.

The upper house on Tuesday passed transitional legislation, with 37 mostly technical amendments, and the Bill was passed by the lower house yesterday (19 March).

Failed to listen

Senator Murray said the great weakness of the existing WorkChoices laws was that the former government led by John Howard had failed to listen to credible and reputable evidence.

‘The fact is, witness after witness told them WorkChoices was flawed and they didn’t listen. And look where they are now,’ Senator Murray said.

‘This Government did listen and made some very good changes, including those which helped employers.'

‘It was back to treating witnesses with consideration and courtesy, and it was paying attention to what they were saying.’

Nasty experience

Senator Murray said WorkChoices was ‘a particularly savage and nasty experience for a number of academics who fronted up, and that’s just wrong’.

Meanwhile the ACTU says a ban on new AWAs will begin to restore the rights of Australian workers taken away by the former Liberal Government’s WorkChoices IR system.

Enact the legislation

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the Senate Report into the Rudd Government’s Bill to ban new AWAs that was tabled this week confirmed that thousands of Australian workers lost pay and conditions under WorkChoices AWAs.

‘It showed that workers suffered big cuts to their take home pay through the loss of public holiday pay, annual leave loading, shift allowances, overtime pay, penalty rates and other job conditions,’ she said.


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