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News Media Releases Candidate exposes Liberals' secret WorkChoices agenda to slash apprentice wages as Abbott stands by
Candidate exposes Liberals' secret WorkChoices agenda to slash apprentice wages as Abbott stands by
Friday, 16 November 2007 18:35
In an interview with the Messenger newspaper, Liberal candidate for the South Australian seat of Makin, Bob Day, has declared himself a member of the conservative HR Nichols Society and in favour of cutting the wages of apprentices.

In the Messenger article Mr Day says "it should be okay for apprentices to be paid less than the minimum wage" and that "apprentices currently paid an average of $13.19 an hour, should be free to choose if they wanted to work for less."

"We've created a no-man's land between zero dollars and the minimum wage, and nobody's allowed in there,'' Mr Day told the Leader Messenger. Mr Day, a local property developer, also confirmed his membership of the HR Nicholls Society. Source:

Federal Treasurer Peter Costello is a founding member of the HR Nichols Society and Finance Minister Nick Minchin recently addressed a meeting of the group. They are both also on record saying industrial relations should be deregulated further.

These new revelations come as senior Minister Tony Abbott has defended comments in which he admits that under WorkChoices "certain protections" for workers are not what they used to be and that workers are better off without protections from unfair dismissal.


ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

"Here we have another Liberal confirming there are plans to take WorkChoices further and that apprentice wages could be cut after the election.

"Tony Abbott doesn't see any need for workers to have protection from being sacked unfairly and he doesn't see a need for their penalty rates, overtime pay and other conditions to be protected.

"Bob Day believes apprentice wages should be cut. This would hurt apprentices and make it harder to attract young Australians to the trades - making the skills crisis even worse.

"Earlier this week research by Group Training Australia found that the wages for young apprentices are already so low - as little as $6.90 an hour - that many are forced to live below the poverty line and drop out of their apprenticeship before completing, worsening Australia's skills shortage," said Ms Burrow.

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