WorkChoices battle lines grow

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WorkChoices battle lines grow

The ACT will join the States in challenging the Federal Government’s WorkChoices legislation.

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The ACT will join the States in challenging the Federal Government’s WorkChoices legislation. Meanwhile the South Australian Branch of the Liberal Party has unexpectedly sought support from a leading trade union by asking for a donation to its campaign for the State election.

ACT joins High Court challenge to WorkChoices laws

The ACT will join the States in challenging the Federal Government’s WorkChoices legislation, Chief Minister and Attorney General Jon Stanhope has announced.

Key provisions of the WorkChoices legislation are expected to commence this month.

So far New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia have all issued High Court proceedings to challenge the Work Choices legislation. Victoria is expected to join the challenge in the next few days and Tasmania and the Northern Territory have indicated that they will also intervene.

‘The grounds for challenging the laws include the Commonwealth’s reliance on the corporations power in the Constitution and an invalid reliance on the Territories power in section 122 of the Constitution,’ Stanhope said.

‘The States will be arguing that the new legislation is also not supported by the constitutional power over trade and commerce.’

Concerns

Stanhope said the ACT was concerned about the extent of the Commonwealth’s reliance upon these constitutional powers in enacting Work Choices - particularly the Territories power in s.122, which directly affected the ACT.

He said the new legislation has made fundamental changes to the workplace-relations system in Australia and contained provisions that are intended to give it exclusive effect, overriding State or Territory industrial laws and laws that generally affect employment - other than long-service leave.

‘A number of our own laws are potentially affected by Work Choices, including our Parental Leave (Private Sector Employees) Act 1992 and the Holidays Act 1958,’ he said.

‘As a result, the rights and entitlements of workers in the Territory are under direct and significant threat.’

‘That is why the ACT intends to intervene in proceedings to challenge these onerous laws in the High Court.’

Related

NSW challenges WorkChoices in High Court, makes deal with unions

SA Libs ask union for election campaign donation

The South Australian Branch of the Liberal Party has asked a leading trade union for a donation to its campaign for the State election on 18 March.

In a letter to the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) which concentrates on the State’s power supply problems, the Party’s President Christopher Moriarty points out that ‘the Liberal Party relies totally on donations for funding our campaigns as there is no public funding in South Australia’.

‘Our focus is on what is best for your business,’ the letter says. ‘If for no other reason, think of your business’s need for electricity.’

It asks for a donation ‘no matter how large or small’.

Although the correspondence is clearly a form letter, the Howard Government has constantly berated the Labor Party for its acceptance of large donations from the union movement, as Shadow IR spokesman Stephen Smith was happy to point out yesterday.

‘When Kevin Andrews lectures the Parliament about donations to the Australian Labor Party by trade unions he should be honest about his colleagues being happy to receive donations from the very same source,’ he said.
 

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