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News News Abbott reaffirms commitment to WorkChoices in budget reply

In delivering a budget reply that was short on detail and long on rhetoric, Opposition leader Tony Abbott has again stated his commitment to reintroduce key aspects of John Howard’s WorkChocies legislation. Despite what they have said to the contrary, the current Liberal leadership have obviously not learnt the lessons of 2007 when voters made it abundantly clear that Australians do not want an unjust and unfair employment relations system by emphatically voting for a change of government over the issue.

In his budget reply speech Mr Abbott stated that, if elected, the Coalition would again abolish unfair dismissal protection for employees in small businesses and promote individual contracts saying:

“We’ll seek to take the unfair dismissal monkey off the back of small businesses…”

“We’ll make Labor’s transitional employment agreements less transitional and Labor’s individual flexibility agreements more flexible. We have faith in Australian workers who are not as easily pushed around and exploited as the ACTU’s dishonest ad campaign is already making out.

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk has responded saying: ”The union movement knows better than most that Australian workers are not easily pushed around however the relationship between an employer and an employee can hardly be described as an equal one. Sometimes the employers we’re talking about here are huge multinational corporations and to say that an individual worker negotiating their employment terms and conditions with their employer is on an even footing is just ridiculous. Australians know that WorkChoices wasn’t fair and they acted accordingly and very clearly. I find it astounding that Mr Abbott would attempt a return to something that the Australian people have so clearly rejected.”

In his budget address Abbott also promised to get rid of 12,000 public sector jobs through a 2 year recruitment freeze as a saving mechanism. Ms McGurk described the announcement as a cheap shot attempt at budget savings. “Announcing the random slashing of 12,000 public sector positions at a time when Australia’s population is continuing to grow steadily is ridiculous and badly thought out. Australian voters will see this for the erratic and badly planned policy that it is.”

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