Turnbull re-opens door on WorkChoices

News

Turnbull re-opens door on WorkChoices

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has refused to rule out bringing back individual work contracts, resulting in the Federal Government accusing him of wanting to ‘bring back WorkChoices’.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has refused to rule out bringing back individual work contracts, resulting in the Federal Government accusing him of wanting to ‘bring back WorkChoices’.
 
Turnbull said at a Liberal Party function on Saturday he wasn’t ‘ruling ... in or out’ a return to individual contracts, and he will announce before the next election whether he wants to bring them back.
 
He said the Opposition will assess Labor's new workplace regime before making any policy changes.
 
Constraint on productivity
 
Turnbull criticised Labor's new workplace regime as inflexible for employers, and called it a constraint on productivity growth.
 
‘We are going to review the performance of Labor's changes ... Labor claim they will not reduce flexibility in the workplace,’ he said.
 
‘We believe they will.’
 
Turnbull said the new IR laws have only just taken effect and it is too early to judge their impact.
 
‘That's why it's appropriate that our concerns now move from the realm of debate to the realm of fact, so we'll see what the impact of Labor's changes are on the ground,’ he said.
 
Large chunks of WorkChoices
 
Turnbull was backed by Shadow Treasurer and former IR Minister Joe Hockey, who said AWAs were ‘dead’ but the Opposition would look at the productivity of individual contracts and consider improvements.
 
He said the government itself had adopted ‘large chunks of WorkChoices’.
 
The government has pounced on these admissions and IR Minister Julia Gillard said Turnbull was ‘making it clear he wants to bring back WorkChoices’.
 
‘I mean the reality is the heart of WorkChoices, the very beating heart of it, was individual statutory employment agreements that let basic conditions be stripped away, thinks like redundancy pay and penalty rates,’ Gillard told ABC radio.
 
‘I mean Turnbull’s so out of touch that he thinks the answer for workers during a global recession is to have laws that mean basic conditions can be stripped away.’
 
The Minister for Employment Participation, Senator Mark Arbib, said it was now ‘pretty clear Turnbull was pretending last November [when he said WorkChoices was dead], and now the real Liberal policy has been revealed’.
 
Hardliners
 
Arbib said the IR ‘hardliners’ such as Tony Abbott and Nick Minchin have ‘won the battle inside the Liberal Party’.
 
Turnbull is expected to come under ferocious attack from the government during Question Time in Parliament today.
 
Post details