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News News IR now prime reason for voters to switch, ACTU poll finds
MORE than four out of 10 voters considering switching to Labor at this year's federal election cite industrial relations laws as their prime concern, independent polling commissioned by the ACTU says.

The Essential Research poll of 800 voters, conducted between June 22 and July 3, presented respondents with 11 topical issues and asked them to choose the three that mattered most when determining their vote.

Health care, industrial relations and education were the top three. Health care was cited by 54 per cent, while 44 per cent cited industrial relations and 44 per cent chose education.

When the ACTU last commissioned such a poll in March, industrial relations was cited as an important issue by 37 per cent.

In the latest poll, those who voted for the Coalition in 2004 but were now intending to vote Labor said industrial relations was the key vote switcher.

The poll found 43 per cent of those intending to switch their vote listed the Government's IR laws as the single most important issue. The next most important issue cited by the vote switchers was health care. It was the most important issue for 14 per cent.

The poll also found strong support for Labor's proposed changes to the Work Choices legislation. Almost 90 per cent supported the proposal to "protect conditions like penalty rates, four weeks' annual leave, public holiday pay and redundancy payments".

Introducing laws to allow workers to have a collective agreement for their workplace if that is what the majority wanted garnered 85 per cent support.

The ACTU secretary and Labor candidate for Charlton, Greg Combet, said there was no doubt that Work Choices was proving to be a vote switcher. "They're crook laws," he said, adding that the IR laws had become firmly entrenched as an economic issue for people "who experience a cut in their pay and their penalty rates".

The poll also showed Labor would have won an election if it were held now. In findings similar to those of the latest Newspoll, published this week, the poll gave Labor a two-party-preferred vote of 57 per cent compared with 43 per cent for the Coalition.

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