Workplace Authority 'not up to the job': Gillard

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Workplace Authority 'not up to the job': Gillard

Opposition IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard, has accused the Workplace Authority of being 'not up to the job', saying it has sent 30,000 letter to employers with wrong details.

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Opposition IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard, has accused the Workplace Authority of being 'not up to the job', saying it has sent 30,000 letter to employers with wrong details.

Gillard also said she had had a complaint from an individual who wanted a formal notice that his AWA had been terminated, but was told by the Authority they didn't have the appropriate letterhead for the notice.

'We receive complaints every day about what is happening in that authority,' Gillard said.

Views differ

'Well, these victims of the Workplace Authority, whether it is the 30,000 people who got the wrong letters or the individuals who are getting pushed around from pillar to post waiting for basic notices, this shows of course that the workplace authority isn't up to job of doing what it is being asked to do, and that the system created by the Howard Government is a bureaucratic nightmare,' Gillard added.

Denial from WA

However, in a statement, the Authority denied incorrect letters had gone to 30,000 employers, saying they had only gone to a 'small number' of employers. It made no response to the letterhead allegation.

Future of WA head

In an interview with Channel 9 political correspondent Laurie Oakes, Gillard declined to say what would happen to Workplace Authority head Barbara Bennett if Labor wins the forthcoming Federal election.

Bennett created a furore by agreeing to appear in Federal Government TV ads espousing the WorkChoices legislation. The ALP claimed the ads were 'little more than tax-payer-funded political propaganda for the Liberal Party'.

Asked what would happen to Bennet under a Labor Government, Gillard said: 'We will deal with all public servants on the basis of merit.'

'Certainly our policy provides we won't have the Workplace Authority, it will come to an end on the first of January 2010, [when] our new industrial umpire Fair Work Australia will take over,' she said. 'Obviously a big proportion of the work of the Workplace Authority is taking AWAs for lodgement, [Prime Minister John] Howard's Australian Workplace Agreements, and we won't be having those agreements.

Inappropriate request

'My debate has never been with Barbara Bennett, she is a public servant who did what she was asked to do. She appeared in Government-funded advertising. My debate is with the Government because I believe that request of her was inappropriate.'

Alleged misuse of funds by TWU

Gillard said allegations which surfaces yesterday that the TWU had been seeking contributions amounting to 'millions of dollars' from employers to be paid into a 'training fund' should be investigated if there were any evidence of the misuse of the funds.

'If there is any suggestion anywhere in our industrial system, whether it be a union or an employer organisation, that a registered organisation isn't keeping up with the appropriate standards, then of course that should be dealt with,' she said.

Asked if she would investigate the allegations if she were in Government, Gillard said that would be a matter for the police or industrial relations agencies.

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