WorkChoices name change brings mockery and laughter

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WorkChoices name change brings mockery and laughter

Labor has laughed at the Howard Government's attempt to fix its industrial relations problem by changing the name of the 'WorkChoices' laws, with Julia Gillard saying the next step would be to rename the Iraq War the 'Iraq Peace'.

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Labor has laughed at the Howard Government's attempt to fix its industrial relations problem by changing the name of the 'WorkChoices' laws, with Julia Gillard saying the next step would be to rename the Iraq War the 'Iraq Peace'.

The Government yesterday ordered that the WorkChoices hotline be renamed the Workplace Hotline and senior Ministers have stopped using the word 'WorkChoices'.

'Fear campaign has worked'

Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey, claimed this was because the 'scare campaign' by Labor and the unions had had 'some impact'.

'The fear campaign has worked,' he said.

However not all Ministers seem to have got the message, with Treasurer Peter Costello saying, curiously, 'As far as I know no edict has reached my ears.'

Still 'WorkChoices', says Rudd

Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, derided the change, saying that if the Government's IR system 'smells', 'looks' and has the 'effect' of WorkChoices 'then it is Howard's old WorkChoices legislation that we're dealing with'.

Health Minister, Tony Abbott, seemed to back this up when in a TV debate with Labor's IR spokeswoman Julia Gillard, he responded to her question: 'if the policy is so good why has an edict gone out to Howard Government personnel to not use the words WorkChoices?' by saying: 'A rose by any other name, Julia.'

'Fairness Test' means new name

Hockey said yesterday that the creating of the new 'Fairness Test' for AWAs under WorkChoices — for which the legislation is yet to be drafted — meant that the IR policy was now 'different' and therefore needed another name. And he forecast another massive spending spree of taxpayer's money on TV ads pushing the Government's IR laws, saying 'we make no apologies for properly informing people about what's going on'.

However, ACTU President, Sharan Burrow, said it was a matter of 'new name, same old unfair laws'.

'We have the same old unfair IR laws, but now they will be given a new name in an attempt to cover up their impact on the take home pay and lack of job security for working Australians,' she said. 'It is a desperate measure from a Government that doesn't care about working families and is only interested in getting re-elected.

'Banning the name ' WorkChoices' won't alter the fact that people are being ripped off by the new IR laws.'

Workers 'ripped off'

Burrow said more than four million Australians have lost protection from being sacked unfairly under the laws.

'Working Australians are being ripped off by the loss of penalty rates, overtime pay, public holiday payments, leave loading and other award entitlements under John Howard's IR laws, and the Government's new 'Fairness Test' is farce,' she said.

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