Vic election result paves way for Schedule 1A equity

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Vic election result paves way for Schedule 1A equity

Steve Bracks' landslide win in the Lower House and likely control of the Upper House after Saturday's election mean several crucial pieces of industrial legislation to be reintroduced when Parliament sits again in February will almost certainly get up.

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Steve Bracks' landslide win in the Lower House and likely control of the Upper House after Saturday's election mean several crucial pieces of industrial legislation to be reintroduced when Parliament sits again in February will almost certainly get up.

Top of the list in Labor's pre-election pledges (see 383/2002) was the reintroduction of the Federal Awards (Uniform Systems) Bill 2002, which would have referred more powers to the Commonwealth, to legislate to have the 20 minimum federal award conditions apply to 350,000 of the state's lowest-paid workers.

Covered by Schedule 1A of the federal Workplace Relations Act, but not covered by awards or agreements, those workers currently only have five minimum conditions.

That Bill was voted down by the then-hostile Upper House in October (see 323/2002).

But after the weekend, with 80% of the vote counted, Bracks, who had previously needed the support of three Independents in the Legislative Assembly, has an overwhelming majority and looks likely to have won 61, possibly 62, of the 88 Lower House seats.

And in the Legislative Council, in which only half the members faced election on Saturday, it is tipped to hold between 23 and 25 of the 44 seats after winning 15 seats outright, with three more undecided.

Labor has only ever been in this position once before in Victoria - and that was only for a matter of weeks.

IR Minister John Lenders also promised to reintroduce bills relating to the protection of outworkers and child workers (see 328/2002).

Not mentioned in Labor's pre-election policy, but very much on the minds of unions and employers, was Labor's controversial industrial manslaughter legislation, which was also voted down in the Upper House (see 111/2002).

WorkplaceInfo's sister site, WorkplaceOHS, reported today that Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Leigh Hubbard would be seeking the reintroduction of the legislation (see 652002).

However Bracks reportedly told parliamentary members yesterday that the Government would be committed only to publicly voiced pre-election pledges.

Apart from the continual knock-backs of the industrial legislation, the Legislative Council also knocked back reforms on the Upper House itself, including cutting the number of members and introducing proportional representation. Fixed four-year terms for both houses are also on the cards.

Robert Doyle is tipped to remain as leader of the Opposition, despite losing about half (17 to 19) of the Liberals' previous 35 seats, although punters are predicting former deputy Louise Asher will make a run for the top job before too long.

The Greens also gained a record 9% of the vote, although this is unlikely to translate to any seats.

 
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