Tas establishes new WorkChoices watchdog

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Tas establishes new WorkChoices watchdog

The Tasmanian Parliament has established a new cross-party 'WorkChoices Scrutiny Committee' to police the implementation of the Howard Government's new IR system in the State. However the Liberal Party has refused to appoint a member to the Committee.

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The Tasmanian Parliament has established a new cross-party 'WorkChoices Scrutiny Committee' to police the implementation of the Howard Government's new IR system in the State. However the Liberal Party has refused to appoint a member to the Committee.

The Chairman of the Committee, Government Whip and Labor member for Denison, Graeme Sturges, said it will work to provide workers and small business operators with a voice.

He said Tasmanian workers have been entered by the Howard Government into a race to the bottom on wages and conditions, and small business operators face the prospect of a $33,000 Howard Government fine if they inadvertently put something into an individual agreement 'that John Howard's Industrial Relations Minister doesn't like'.

Industrial law experts

'On top of this [small business employers] face mountains of new paperwork and the need to become industrial law experts rather than focusing on running their businesses and creating jobs,' Sturges said.

He said the Committee will provide protection under the umbrella of Parliament to those who come forward and reveal abuses under the Howard Government laws.

'Protected by parliamentary privilege, it will provide a forum for frank and open investigation of workplace relations in Tasmania,' Sturges said. 'The Committee can also sit in camera to protect people's identity. And it will have the power to summons people to give evidence under oath.'

No Liberal allowed to serve

Sturges said the Committee is open to members of all parties, but 'unfortunately Liberal Leader Will Hodgman has refused to allow a Liberal to serve on the Committee'.

The 'WorkChoices' Scrutiny Committee will consist of Lisa Singh, Michelle O'Byrne, Nick McKim and Graeme Sturges (Chair).

Contact details

Anyone wishing to make a submission to the Committee should send it to The Secretary of the 'WorkChoices' Scrutiny Committee, C/- Parliament House Hobart, 7000, or contact the Secretariat (03) 6233 3098.

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