Sunday, November 23, 2008


Red News Readers,

Comment submitted to Daily Telegraph blog re this story:

Thousands of people elected Labor to abolish Workchoices and they are doing it. There are disputes over the details, and over the retention of the ABCC, and they are important disputes. The union movement which helped to found and fund the ALP over the last 100 years has every right to make demands on a Labor government in the interests of protecting the working people of this country, particularly with the coming recession, which is undoubtedly going to hit working people hard. James Cuntt (if that is your name), if the Labor Party dies, so do the last vestiges of the protection of living standards in this country. That may not matter to you, but it does to millions of working families.

Jenny Haines

Just two days left until the end of WorkChoices, says Julia Gillard

Article from: AAP

By Kate Hannon and Karlis Salna

November 23, 2008 03:13pm

Government to unveil new workplace laws

Bill will be given to Parliament on Tuesday

'Two days until WorkChoices swept away'

UNIONS have attacked Labor's proposed new industrial relations regime on the eve of the introduction of a Bill designed to see the last vestiges of WorkChoices swept away.
Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard will introduce Labor's long-awaited industrial relations Bill on Tuesday after months of consultation and drafting.

"We promised to sweep WorkChoices away, and we will," Ms Gillard said today.

"It's a short 48 hours away."

The Bill sets out the industrial system which will replace WorkChoices from the start of 2010, including new national employment standards, unfair dismissal laws, good faith bargaining rules and an emphasis on collective bargaining.

It will also establish Fair Work Australia as the new industrial tribunal to replace the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

The system will see the end of organisations created by the Howard government under WorkChoices such as the Workplace Authority, the Workplace Ombudsman and the Fair Pay Commission.

But Labor is facing renewed pressure from unions, which have criticised aspects of the Government's industrial relations policy.

Unions argue that the building sector watchdog – the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) – has too much power and should be abolished immediately.

The ACTU launched a television advertising campaign criticising the Government for failing to move quickly enough on the ABCC.

The ads, which will air for three weeks, feature former federal court judge Rod Madgwick condemning the proposed laws as unfair.

"Unfortunately, not all Australian workers are equal before the law. Construction workers are subject to industrial laws such as we've never before seen in this country," Justice Madgwick says in the ad.

"They can be fined up to $22,000 for stopping work and jailed for up to six months for refusing to answer questions about a workplace meeting."

The Government is refusing to budge, saying the ABCC will remain in place until 2010.

"We said in our policy document Forward with Fairness that we would have a measured process for change, that we would abolish the ABCC on the 31st of January, 2010," Ms Gillard said.

"It (will be) replaced by a new inspectorate in our new industrial umpire, Fair Work Australia."

The Government has already conceded some ground to unions on the new industrial relations laws.

Under the new laws, unions will have greater access to arbitration where disputes are intractable or where economic and other damage is evident.

The Government has also bowed to employer pressure, particularly from those in the mining industry, to allow Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) to continue as long as both parties agree.

However the AWAs will be subject to the 10 national employment standards that will come into force in 2010.

The new Bill is also expected to reveal the final details of the good faith bargaining rules and winding back of restrictions on unfair dismissal protection.

Ms Gillard said it was hoped the Bill would pass through the lower house in the next fortnight, after which it would be referred to a Senate committee.

"We will be asking the Senate to deal with that expeditiously and to deal with the legislation in February next year," she said.

Ms Gillard will face off against Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull in Parliament on Monday with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd not due back in the country until Tuesday.

Mr Rudd has been attending an APEC meeting in Peru.