Why was WorkChoices unpopular in Australia?

Coalition 'hide' plans to reform labor relations & comma; say the unions

Australian Council of Trade Unions warns coalition government to bring Howard-era WorkChoices back


John Howard said labor relations reform is "unfinished business" and noted that the Turnbull administration had not ruled out changes in the area.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has cautioned that the fact the government is not responding to a major workplace relations report means it has "something to hide", and policies similarly unpopular to Howard-era WorkChoices are bringing back.

On Sky on Monday, the former prime minister said, "Labor relations and tax reform remain unfinished business in this country and at some point they need to be addressed." _ FITTED

"And I don't see anything the government said to rule that out." But when it happens and what form it takes is of course a matter of government of the day. "

In December 2014, the Abbott government asked the Productivity Commission to review workplace relations laws, including penalties for working weekends and holidays.

In December 2015, the Commission's final report recommended cutting Sunday penalty prices to stand on Saturday in some industries, making it harder for workers who had been wrongly dismissed to get back to their jobs and introduce a new form of contract to new employees could be offered on a "take it or leave it" basis.

The government has said that the fair labor commission continues to set punishment. But despite promising a response to the major pre-election report, the Turnbull government has not yet responded to the other recommendations.

ACTU secretary, Dave Oliver inquired why, after the longest election campaign recently, the government had not released its full labor relations policy.

"The question on everyone's lips is: where is it?" he said. "Why don't you publish it and what are you hiding?"

“It's no wonder that John Howard is out there talking about labor relations reform. WorkChoices was all about watering down dismissal protection, reducing the capacity of the independent arbitrator and taking it out or dropping it from contracts.

"The Productivity Commission's report contains very similar things."

Company contracts, companies could move groups of employees from the award to the new instrument, provided the new contract meets a no-disadvantage test.

However, if employees didn't think their new terms were more favorable complain to an independent regulator and request the agreement or wait 12 months to be awarded again.

Oliver said this would mean that companies could reduce contract terms and conditions and "would further reduce the collective bargaining capacity of workers".

"Nobody who buys a single worker, someone who stacks the shelves at large retail stores, can bargain with their employer," he said. "What kind of bargaining capacity do you have against a multinational retailer?"

Oliver said it was "very likely the government will push for some form of industrial relations reform" in the next legislature.

"There's no way the government can claim to have a mandate on anything about industrial relations," he said.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission, a total of 1.77 million Australians have already voted: 1.17 million voters already and 600,000 post-returned votes.

Other aspects of social policy that the government has directed include a promised crackdown on employers, workers and powers for the courts to ban union officials for repeated labor violations of underpay.

But the Productivity Commission report on Monday and Tuesday last week when asked the coalition campaign spokesman, Mathias Cormann, said the government was going through an "orderly and methodical process" releasing its policies. He didn't say why it was so late in the eight-week labor relations campaign.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and industry chief executive, James Pearson, said it had supported secondary boycott recommendations in the report, including making it easier for employers and employees to form agreements and tougher enforcement of bans.

"The coalition workplace relations policy, expected this week is expected to respond to the Productivity Commission's recommendations," Pearson said. "I look forward to checking the detail when the policy is announced."

The Chamber supported the proposal for an enterprise contract but urged the government to consider statutory individual contracts such as Australian workplace agreements. Business Council of Australia said company contracts are "no substitute" for individual agreements.

The Labor Employment spokesman, Brendan O'Connor, told the National Press Club on June 17 the fact the government had not responded to the Workplace Relations report showed "how incompetent and lazy the government is".

But Labor didn't respond to the Productivity Commission report either.

"We do not feel obliged to be the first to respond to a government-commissioned report," said O'Connor. "We're happy to be looking at these matters, including what's a flexible way to negotiate with small businesses."

O'Connor told Guardian Australia: "In the absence of any Abbott-Turnbull supported government response to the Productivity Commission report we must conclude that there are all recommendations, including the outrageous proposal to lower penalty rates."

Labor has announced that it will introduce a licensing system for labor law hiring companies and will take action against abuse of work visas and underpaid workers. It will publish another policy on worker exploitation franchises this week.

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