WorkChoices: services and people

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WorkChoices: services and people

The Office of Workplace Services has extended the number of ways that employees and employers can bring their workplace concerns to its attention. Meanwhile the appointment to the Federal Magistrate's Court, of an adviser to Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews, has been described as 'a stunning display of arrogance and contempt for the legal system' by the Federal Opposition.

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The Office of Workplace Services has extended the number of ways that employees and employers can bring their workplace concerns to its attention. Meanwhile the appointment to the Federal Magistrate's Court, of an adviser to Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews, has been described as 'a stunning display of arrogance and contempt for the legal system' by the Federal Opposition.

OWS offers new services on workplace rights

The Office of Workplace Services has extended the number of ways that employees and employers can bring their workplace concerns to its attention.

The Office's new website went live last Monday.

Features include:

  • Live Help: a secure and private online link to an OWS advisor, where individuals can make an initial enquiry and seek advice before deciding whether to make a claim.
  • Online claim form: cut the time to make a claim by filling in the form online and sending it instantly to the OWS. Alternatively, print off the PDF version, fill in and post.
  • Detailed workplace guides: plain English explanations of workplace rules, rights and obligations, worker and employer FAQs, the role of the OWS, contact points and links to other useful sources.

The Office has also established an OWS Helpline on 1300 724 200.

Range of issues

OWS Executive Director Nicholas Wilson said that the new service will help with a range of issues such as underpayments or coercion surrounding agreement making.

'If workers feel they are being pressured to join a union, or discriminated against because they are a union member, they should let us know,' he said.

'All enquiries will be treated carefully and impartially by the OWS. There is also a dedicated section on the website to help employers understand their rights and responsibilities, and comply with workplace rules.'

Contacts

The WorkChoices Infoline is 1300 363 264 or visit the OWS website.

Related

WorkChoices 'enforcer' comes into operation

Labor attacks appointment of Andrews' 'mate' as IR magistrate

The appointment to the Federal Magistrate's Court of an adviser to Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews, has been described as 'a stunning display of arrogance and contempt for the legal system' by the Federal Opposition.

The appointment was announced by Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock on Friday, after Federal Parliament had closed for the winter break. Ruddock said John O'Sullivan, a Senior Adviser to Andrews, will be appointed to the Magistrate's Court, specialising in industrial relations disputes.

'He goes straight from the Minister's office to a Federal Magistrate's job for life,' said Shadow Attorney General Nicola Roxon.

She said O'Sullivan will be protected by the Constitution until he reaches the age of 70, and will earn $239,430 per year in his new position.

Politicises judges

'This politicises the appointment of judges to the extreme,' Roxon said. 'O'Sullivan has spent the last three years in the office responsible for the most contentious piece of legislation the Howard Government has introduced - the extreme industrial relations package.

'As a magistrate he will be responsible for interpreting and applying that legislation. How on earth can he be expected to be even-handed and unbiased?'

Roxon said that according to Ruddock's press release, O'Sullivan has spent less than four years actually practicing as a lawyer. He was admitted to practice in 2000, and left practice to work for Mr Andrews in 2003.

'The Howard Government may have abolished unfair dismissals, but it is excelling at unfair appointments,' she said.
  

 

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