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News News Abbott and Barnett plot the return of WorkChoices

It is well known that Opposition leader Tony Abbott was a firm supporter of the Howard Government’s attacks on workers and unions in the form of their WorkChoices legislation. While Mr Abbott has been busy telling the media that he won’t revive the legislation if elected, his recent comments to small business owners clearly demonstrate his desire to introduce similar changes to industrial relations laws if elected.

At a recent meeting with business executives, Abbott said he will remove protection from unfair dismissal for workers in small businesses and bring back individual contracts – two basic features of WorkChoices.

"You know, at four elections running, we had a mandate to take the unfair dismissal monkey off the back of small businesses and we will once more seek that mandate. At four elections running, we had a mandate to introduce statutory non-union contracts and we will seek to renew that mandate."
Tony Abbott, 12 Feb 2010.

Meanwhile the State Liberal government is busy looking to implement similar changes of their own to WA employment laws. Treasurer Troy Buswell commissioned a review into the WA industrial relations system by one of the architects of Howard’s WorkChoices legislation, lawyer Steven Amendola. In the brief for the review he specifically asks Amendola to suggest reforms relating to unfair dismissal laws and employee contracts as well as union right of entry to worksites and State awards.

While Treasurer Buswell is yet to release the report’s findings it is well known that he and Premier Barnett were supporters of WorkChoices and unions are concerned that the 30% of WA workers covered by State employment laws could be facing serious attacks on their rights.

Visit the No WorkChoices in WA website for more information.

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