‘Cowardly’ NSW Opposition ducks WorkChoices vote

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‘Cowardly’ NSW Opposition ducks WorkChoices vote

NSW Liberal and National Party Opposition MPs left the floor of State Parliament yesterday rather than vote on a motion supporting the High Court challenge to WorkChoices and condemning the Federal Government for stripping wages and conditions off workers.

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NSW Liberal and National Party Opposition MPs left the floor of State Parliament yesterday rather than vote on a motion supporting the High Court challenge to WorkChoices and condemning the Federal Government for stripping wages and conditions off workers.

Inquiry into WorkChoices

The motion, which was obviously intended to embarrass the Opposition over its support for WorkChoices, follows the announcement last week that a Parliamentary Committee would inquire into the effects of WorkChoices on people in NSW.

That inquiry is also intended to embarrass the Opposition, which has announced that if it wins the next State election in March 2007 it will hand NSW workers over to the Federal Government – except for public sector workers.

How the IR system could function in NSW with private sector workers in one system and public sector workers in another is anyone’s guess.

WorkChoices will obviously be a major part of Labor’s campaign for re-election next year, and the Government can be expected to raise the issue at every opportunity.

During the debate on yesterday’s motion the only Opposition Member who spoke was Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Chris Hartcher, who attacked the Government over its performance regarding health, education, roads, public transport and law and order, saying they all affected the well-being of NSW workers.

During question time and later in the debate Premier Morris Iemma and a series of Government members had detailed a list of employees stripped of entitlements or sacked.

Accusation of cowardice

NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, accused the Opposition of cowardice for refusing to reveal its industrial relations plans.

Della Bosca said many Liberal and National Oppositions around the nation have spoken strongly against the Commonwealth’s WorkChoices legislation.

Liberals State MPs in WA and National Party State MPs in Queensland all opposed WorkChoices during the run up to its tabling in Federal Parliament, however Senators from those States all supported the legislation when it came to a vote.

Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews briefed Opposition parties in the States on the content of the legislation, but refused to provide detailed information to the Labor State Governments.

Related

State Governments' reaction to Federal IR agenda

 

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