WorkChoices, you asked for it

In August 2012, former Prime Minister John Howard called for a return to individual employment contracts, however then Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott was quick to end speculation saying, “there will be no going back to the past”.

”If Mr Howard, who was a Liberal prime minister for 12 years, is talking about bringing back WorkChoices, then you can bet your bottom dollar that Mr Abbott is bringing back WorkChoices,” he (Wayne Swan) told reporters in Canberra.

But Mr Abbott said the Coalition would not seek to be ideological in the industrial relations arena.

But perhaps, and in order to find out what Tony Abbott’s honest answer is, then we need to go back to Abbott in Opposition:

  • New federal Liberal leader Tony Abbott has not to ruled out changes to Australia’s industrial relations landscape if he wins power next election.
  • When asked if new Liberal policy would include seeking to re-introduce aspects of the previous Howard government’s WorkChoices regime, which has been rolled back by the Kevin Rudd government, Mr Abbott said Australia needed a “free and flexible economy”.
  • FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott wants to scrap penalty rates — to protect the Australian weekend.
  • Retailers and hospitality employers are planning a post-election push for a relaxation of penalty rates after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott signalled potential support for such cases in the workplace tribunal.
  • PETER Reith will demand today that business aggressively pressure Tony Abbott to introduce more radical workplace policy changes if he wins the election, while stepping up his attack on the Coalition’s paid parental leave policy as unaffordable and “wrong in principle”.In a rallying call to resource sector employers in Melbourne, the Howard government workplace relations minister will urge employers to start campaigning in October for substantial changes if Mr Abbott wins the September 14 election.
  • Business says that an Abbott government should go further than what it says in its policy. Unions say that an Abbott government will go further than what it says in its policy. We just can’t know for sure what those further changes will be. But whatever they are, it is unlikely that they would boost productivity, either.

Announced today:

The federal government is finalising plans for a sweeping review of the nation’s workplace laws, and could hand-pick an industrial relations expert from outside the Productivity Commission to help lead it.

Before the election, the government promised a ”genuine and independent review” of the Fair Work laws by the economically dry commission, to consider their impact on productivity, the economy and jobs, with a view to raising flexibility in the workplace.

The review comes as Employment Minister Eric Abetz revealed plans to introduce new laws next week that would allow workers to trade off conditions such as penalty rates in return for more flexible hours.

So what happened to the “review”?  Preempting any “sweeping review” by either the Productivity Commission or Abetz’ and Abbott’s “hand-picked” apologist expert, Abetz and Abbott have announced that Australian workers are going to be permitted to trade away their penalty rates in exchange for . . . whose flexibility?

Senator Abetz confirmed, when asked about the changes, that they would allow workers to trade off penalty rates for family time.

He stressed it would be employees who decided if this trade-off suited them, and not employers dictating that penalty rates be signed away.

I wonder in what reality Senator Abetz lives?  An imaginary place where the lass at the checkout or the young bloke on the factory floor has the ability to say to the big boss, “No sorry, I would rather get paid overtime rather than leave work at lunchtime.”.  “Don’t come in Monday, we don’t need you until later in the week” is already the reality for many of Australia’s workforce, but it is now obvious that in the guise of Abbott being “the best friend the Australian worker ever had” . . . look, think of it this way, you may not be able to pay the bills or put food on the table, but at least you’ll be getting quality time with the family . . . that this is the first step of an ongoing campaign.

From ACTU president Ged Kearney:  ”This is a blatant attempt to cut pay and conditions … despite all the pre-election promises,” she said. ”Minister Abetz talks about imaginary workers that want to give up penalty rates for nothing. We’re yet to find a worker that thinks this is a good deal.”

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28 comments on “WorkChoices, you asked for it

  1. Abbott the workers best friend, when on any surface scrutiny he isn’t.

    Abbott Medicare’s best friend, when on any scrutiny he blatantly isn’t.

    Abbott women’s best friend, when he hasn’t done a thing for them since making himself the minister for women.

    Abbott the Aboriginals best friend, when he’s put Aboriginal affairs backwards since taking over the ministry.

    All these and so many other statements Abbott makeshas written for him, have one thing in common, they are all lies and deceits.

    The one thing that is absolutely true is that when Abbott says he’s your friend, unless you’re a big business owner, wealthy or a toady, then you aren’t Credlin’s friend at all, and lets face it that’s who pick and chooses for Abbott. Not even his gormless supporters are his friends, just someone he/Credlin can use to mindlessly repeat their bullshit without question. Abbott will have no hesitation in screwing them as he screws just about everybody else.

  2. A horrible place to be..inside the mind of one TA..homeless people like it that way, people who have lost their jobs are “liberated” and now “flexibility” likewise liberates, enabling more family time.

  3. Read the SMH this am Friday 22nd. Dumbo hasn’t got long to go. He and Peta have stuffed up Australia over 5 months. The people of Australia are not fools they know who is running the Country and don’t like her, nor does the majority of the LNP.

  4. Very telling that the right wingers are harping on inane nonsense and utter bullshit on asylum seekers yet ignore or avoid topics on just about every other Abbott government policy and their string of broken promises.

    Seems as they wrongly believe boats has been a success they must harp on about it as a distraction to the abysmal failure of this government in all areas.

    The same can be said for the constant references and banal harping about “look over there,” Labor instead of addressing, even at a basic level, this Liberal government’s performance and policies outside of “look over there,” boats.

    Nothing more states the obvious failures of this government than their own rusted on unthinking supporters not being able to articulate positives for them and instead have to resort to abuse, going on about Labor and the distraction of using horrible inhumane treatment of fellow human beings as a triumphalist skite.

  5. Sorry, Abetz cannot claim his legislation is not the rebirth of Work

    Awards and agreements become useless, not being able to be enforced.

    Most likely, as an individual worker, you will be signing those rights away., to get the job.

    Awards and agreements become useless, not being able to be enforced.

    I plead with the voters in WA to think hard before they cast their upcoming Senate vote.

    There is too much to lose.

  6. Driving home from work heard a piece on the radio on Destructive Creation, a dynamic capitalist theory and one Abbott has quoted from when he said workers were being liberated when they were sacked.

    It’s all about destroying jobs and industries to give greater and greater profits to an elite few who shift around their investments in a dynamic market.

    Seems to be happening here as now not only are manufacturing jobs being destroyed but the service industries are also starting to lay of large numbers of people.

  7. I’m going slightly off my own topic here.. 😀 However, I have very much enjoyed Rossleigh’s post over at the AIMN…

    And now they’re planning to grow the OPPORTUNITY for people to contribute to their own health care costs. This is exactly the sort of opportunity I’ve been waiting for. When I had a recent test, I was bulk-billed, I asked the person doing it if there was some way I could contribute to the cost, but they said no. I asked if, perhaps, I could empty their bin or mop their floor. Again no.

    These will most definitely be the tactics, that we will have Real Choices.. – we will be given the OPPORTUNITY to give up our benefits or the alternative, the OPPORTUNITY to be LIBERATED from our job.

  8. There isn’t a better single word description than Orwellian to describe what Abbott is doing to this country and the words he’s using to justify it.

  9. Federal Government prosecutes workers in WA
    CFMEU National Office News
    Seventy six workers are set to be prosecuted by the Federal Government in West Australia for allegedly attending a rally a year ago organised to lobby for employment and training opportunities for young people.

    The Fair Work Building Commission is serving summonses on the workers – all from Crown Construction – who attended the rally on February 28, 2013 in Perth as part of a union and community campaign to push for local jobs and local content in West Australia’s mining sector.

    CFMEU Construction Secretary Dave Noonan who was one of the speakers at the rally said he was shocked to hear that once again workers were being targeted by a Liberal Government, this time over their democratic right to protest and about something that took place 12 months ago.

    “This is an outrageous attack on workers’ rights and civil liberties. There is no problem between the employer and the workers in this case. It is simply the government going after ordinary workers for daring to take a stand on the issue of local jobs and better opportunities for their kids.

    “Process servers have been turning up to workers’ homes who are shocked that they are being prosecuted for attending a rally and are looking at a fine of $10,200,” said Mr Noonan.

    Mr Noonan said that there is a sense of déjà vu for workers in the construction industry in West Australia.

    “In 2006, 107 workers in WA were prosecuted for taking industrial action and they paid thousands of dollars in fines.

    “Once again the Liberal Government is treating workers like criminals just because they decided to show their support for a campaign in their community for local jobs.

    “Workers are distressed by the prospect of paying huge fines, going to court and having servers at their door putting their families under duress.”

    Mr Noonan called on the Prime Minister to stop his attacks on working people.

    “Workers in Australia should be able to participate in a peaceful political protest without the threat of being dragged before the courts by the government.

    “It’s something you might expect in an authoritarian state, not in a democracy like Australia.”

    Mr Noonan said there seemed to a pattern of abuse directed at workers from the government.

    “There has been slandering of workers at SPC, denigrating of workers at Toyota and now punitive measures are being imposed on construction workers for attending a rally.

    “It’s hard to see this prosecution of 76 workers WA is anything else but another notch in Tony Abbott’s anti worker belt.”..

  10. Still notice the right wingers are avoiding this topic like the plague as it means they have to tell us why the Abbott government is so good and all the great and successful policies he has bought in. Instead they stay on the topic of asylum seekers as in their inhumanness and blind right wing ideology they believe Abbott has won a victory.

    Poor, poor blind fools, Abbott indeed has cost this country a great loss.

  11. The Abbott government will make cabinet documents from the former government available to the royal commission into the abandoned home insulation scheme in an unprecedented move that could provoke a legal challenge.
    Attorney-General George Brandis outlined the plan to make cabinet documents available in a letter to his predecessor, Mark Dreyfus, who says it turns 113 years of established practice on its head.
    Former prime ministers from both sides of politics, Bob Hawke and Malcolm Fraser, have expressed alarm at the move, saying it will invite payback from future governments and threaten cabinet confidentiality.

    Read more:

  12. Not that I fear Laboir has much to fear from the documents being released. Suspect they6 will clear Garrett. Might make Rudd look a little uncomfortable.

  13. Agree. This government always over reacts. They will in the long run, do themselves more harm.

    ,,,,”I am deeply concerned at the permanent damage this government’s actions will do to the safeguards of good government in Australia,” he said.

    University of NSW law professor George Williams said the move set an unfortunate precedent, ”not only in terms of a weakening of principle of cabinet confidentiality, but also of government’s willingness to conduct inquiries into the actions of their predecessors”. ”Normally incoming governments accept that the people have exercised their judgment in throwing the old government out,” he said.

    Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Professor Greg Craven urged the government to be cautious, saying: ”If you a start handing over documents too freely … then the other side is going to do the same thing to you.”

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has strongly denied the royal commission is an exercise in payback, saying: ”The whole point is to ensure we learn the right lessons from these terrible mistakes. It was probably the most disastrously conceived and executed Commonwealth government program in our history and I think it’s important that we learn the right lessons from it, and that’s what this royal commission is trying to do.”

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    Read more:

    I’ve never voted liberal in my life.
    Comment just above about the consequences of revealing cabinet documents. This goes to the larger issue, which is that Abbott doesn’t care about consequences. His view of the cosmos makes consequences irrelevant. In any case, the idea of “future Labor governments” is antithetical to him. He’s engaged in the holy task of ensuring there’ll be no “future Labor governments”.

  15. So Abbott wants to have an enquiry into unions and bring in a law enforcement agency with more powers than the AFP to oversee the construction union, yet he won’t hold an enquiry into construction firms who are heavy donors to the Liberal party.

    Corrupt construction firms and firms going broke are leaving a swath of destruction behind them as they leave contractors and workers destitute in their wake. It’s estimated that construction industry insolvencies cost creditors $3.4 billion a year, which makes any claimed union corruption look like left over chicken feed.

    It’s the same as their attack on Thomson and the HSU. The real corruption and those who engaged in it makes Thomson’s $68,000 look piddling, but they are getting away Scott free as they are supporters of the Liberals and one is an Abbott appointee.

  16. BSA Bob

    He’s engaged in the holy task of ensuring there’ll be no “future Labor governments”.

    This is the only thing that makes any kind of sense – that Abbott believes his party will be the only government Australia will ever have. Otherwise a pattern of subsequent pay-backs will wreck what is left of our democracy.

  17. I read a good statement once on the Liberal party that said the Liberal party exists solely to perpetuate the Liberal party and will do anything to achieve that goal.

    So it isn’t there to govern for the people or partake in a democracy out of belief in democracy, but it’s there for it’s own interests and that of those who back them in remaining in power.

    Fascism is pretty close to that as well.

  18. M.E.
    I’m sure I recall a statement from Peter Van Onselen to the effect that the liberal party was formed solely as a self serving organisation who would run the country. Any ideology is simply the current fashion in spiel.
    Often seen is the swipe that Menzies “would be rolling in his grave”. In addition to being one of those universal insults anyone can hurl at their opponents of choice I think it’s wrong. He’d be pretty happy with the way they’re doing at the moment.

  19. Where have you seen this before.

    Newman and Dooley run away, urged by their minders, when the questioning got a little too tough for them to answer and their bullshit was outed.

    Then Newman abuses firefighters who are manning booths in protest over the drastic cuts to them and emergency services. Proof the Liberals don’t care about ordinary people’s lives. Newman said to one group, “do you strip as well”.

    Then there’s this gross hypocrisy from Newman, who looks like loosing this by-election by a predicted 12 to 17%, when he commented that the Labor opposition were only about negativity and didn’t offer anything positive. “I’m sad to see our democracy has come to this where people think they can say and do anything to try to win an election in a most desperate way,” he said.

    Aren’t the Liberals and their gormless supporters the most flagrant at projection and hypocrisy. They have absolutely no qualms about going to the most base level of negativity, lies and deceits to win power or stay in power but heaven help anyone else who does the same, it’s just not democracy.

    The Liberals idea of democracy:

  20. “Newman and Dooley run away, urged by their minders, when the questioning got a little too tough for them to answer and their bullshit was outed.”

    No. I suspect Newman got abused by leftoids like you.

    I do believe that people like you are natural totalitarians.

  21. “I wonder in what reality Senator Abetz lives?”

    Ecca lives in a world where after 8 years on the job he is entitled to retire on 50% of the contents of the not too inconsiderable trough he wallows in as a politician.

  22. “Ecca lives in a world where after 8 years on the job he is entitled to retire on 50% of the contents of the not too inconsiderable trough he wallows in as a politician.”

    That applies to all politicians.

    Even your hero Craig Thomson.

    What is your point??

  23. NoS, “What is your point??” …… a tad above your station there , boy. 🙂
    Look Neil, if your going to be the empathy-free village idiot around here you really shouldn’t ‘demand’… I mean, who the hell do you think you are Neil ?? 😛 …. please!!, please know your place Neil….. now that’s a good boy 😈
    More to the ‘point’ NoS …. Why the Fuck do you come here ?? 😕 , though I should say why do ‘youse’ come here ?, because lately I have been getting the distinct impression that there is more than one NoS, mayhap some kind of Menzies Hovel tag team…… no wonder you go round n’ round, the right hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doin’ (see what I did there 😀 ) ….. also NoS, I was wondering how often do you/youse flagellate?.. and is that a requirement for your ‘cell’ … just askin’ ……… 😮

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