WorkChoices may be Howard's political epitaph: McKew

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WorkChoices may be Howard's political epitaph: McKew

WorkChoices may be Prime Minister John Howard’s ‘political epitaph’, according to former ABC presenter Maxine McKew — who is Labor’s candidate in Howard's federal seat of Bennelong.

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WorkChoices may be Prime Minister John Howard’s ‘political epitaph’, according to former ABC presenter Maxine McKew — who is Labor’s candidate in Howard's federal seat of Bennelong.

In a comment piece in today’s Australian newspaper, McKew says Bennelong has a high proportion of women workers who think ‘WorkChoices is a real stinker’.

‘WorkChoices is now an issue of perception, values and philosophy,’ McKew says.

‘What utterly bewilders hard-working Australians, and particularly women re-entering the work force after having children, is why on earth we need a punitive set of industrial laws instead of a creative set of negotiated solutions that will help families fulfil their obligations at work and at home?’

Nurse 'feared WorkChoices'

McKew says that when helping Deputy Premier and local state member John Watkins in the recent NSW State election ‘he copped an earful from a local nurse about a range of grievances’.

'She then insisted she was only voting for him because she feared WorkChoices and wanted to send a message to Canberra,’ McKew said. 'One anecdote doesn’t make a case, but all across the country parliamentarians are hearing a similar tune: WorkChoices goes against the culture of a fair go.

‘Today it’s your neighbour who’s lost his penalty payments. Tomorrow it could be you.’

Howard misjudged the issue

McKew said that is ‘odd’ is that Howard, normally such an astute reader of the political mood, has misjudged this issue.

‘Conviction politics is all very well, but an arrogant disregard for entrenched community sentiment is something else altogether,’ she said. ‘Indeed, WorkChoices may well prove to be an unfortunate political epitaph for the PM.’

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