Workplace Laws debate to start in Senate on Monday

The Government has released its program for the sitting of the Senate next week. As expected, it has listed debate on the radical changes to the Workplace Relations Act to start first up on Monday, followed by the Terror laws later in the week.

The Committee examining the misleadingly named ‘Work Choices’ legislation was forced to complete their report by today, with the Government refusing to allow even the few extra days until next Monday. The report (as well as many submissions and transcripts of the hearings) can be accessed here.

The Democrat representative on the Inquiry was Senator Andrew Murray. Apart from his recommendation that the Bill be opposed in its entirety, here are a couple of quotes from his minority report:

“The decision to hold a one-week inquiry into a bill proposing the biggest legislative change to the law regulating workplace relations in Australia in over a century, is a subversion of the democratic process and effective law making”.

“With the Work Choices Bill the Liberal and National parties are assaulting the cultural, economic, social, institutional, legal, political and constitutional underpinnings of work arrangements in Australia.”

This article by Ross Gittins is a good outline of just how ideologically driven the legislation is, and the fact that it will actually create fewer choices for many workers.

I expect the Government will try to guillotine the debate on the workplace changes and force it to a vote by the end of the week. They may well do the same with the terror laws, leaving the final sitting week free to push through the welfare changes.

No doubt anyone who tries to highlight the flaws in the terror laws will be accused of putting public safety at risk by holding up the legislation. I’ll see if I can keep track during the debate of the number of times opponents of the Bill are accused of being soft on terror, being more concerned about the rights of terrorists than the safety of the public and the like.

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5 Comments

  1. “With the Work Choices Bill the Liberal and National parties are assaulting the cultural, economic, social, institutional, legal, political and constitutional underpinnings of work arrangements in Australia.”

    …but apart from that, I don’t see any problems

  2. Can I suggest rephrasing

    Apart from recommending the Bill be opposed in its entirety, here are a couple of quotes from the Democrat representative on the Inquiry, Senator Andrew Murray:

    “The decision to hold a one-week inquiry into a bill proposing the biggest legislative change to the law regulating workplace relations in Australia in over a century, is a subversion of the democratic process and effective law making”.

    “With the Work Choices Bill the Liberal and National parties are assaulting the cultural, economic, social, institutional, legal, political and constitutional underpinnings of work arrangements in Australia.”

    It sounds like the senate inquiry findings were the bill be opposed in its entirety not just the Democrats.

  3. The latest opinion polls show the IR reforms are extremely unpopular with most of the electorate. Hopefully the electoral backlash will bring down the Howard government. Keep up the good work Andrew.

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