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.
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.”