New WA IR law ‘copies’ WorkChoices, claims Andrews

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New WA IR law ‘copies’ WorkChoices, claims Andrews

The WA Government has ‘cut and pasted’ whole slabs of the WorkChoices legislation into its new IR legislation, the Federal Government has claimed.

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The WA Government has ‘cut and pasted’ whole slabs of the WorkChoices legislation into its new IR legislation, the Federal Government has claimed.

The move has prompted Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews to brand the WA Government’s opposition to WorkChoices as ‘empty rhetoric’.

However Opposition leader Kim Beazley said this claim was a case of the Federal Government ‘desperately trying to hang their lead weight around somebody else’s neck’.

Andrews's allegations

Andrews said the WA Government had previously argued ‘wrongly’ that WorkChoices would hurt vulnerable workers.

‘But key provisions of the Australian Government’s Work Choices legislation have been cut and pasted, word for word, into the WA Government’s legislation, including provisions on cashing out of annual leave, casuals, parental leave, unpaid carers leave and reasonable hours,’ he said.

‘By introducing this legislation the Carpenter Labor Government is admitting that Work Choices will benefit employees - that is why they are copying it.’

Beazley's response

Beazley said the essential difference between WorkChoices and the WA legislation thing is that the WA law includes ‘what used to be in Federal law, the notion of a no disadvantage test’.

‘And that is you could not have the value of your remuneration be it in your overtime payments, your holiday pay, sickness benefit, whatever - you could not trade away the value of that material without actually getting fully compensated for it,’ he said.

‘The Federal Government ripped that protection straight out of it. The NSW legislation, the West Australian legislation, legislation in each of the States is now chalk and cheese as far as the Federal Government’s legislation is concerned.

‘Theirs is about destroying conditions. The State legislation, in the context of what the Federal Government is doing, is trying to protect them.’

A comparison of detail from the Federal and WA IR legislation can be found on Minister Andrew’s website.

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