Eric Abetz, shadow minister for employment and workplace relations, is predicted to come into power following the federal election. However, he has stated he will not be making any major changes to the current IR systems and policies in the Coalition’s first term.
“Our approach to IR is evolution not revolution. We will be largely guided by looking at practical problems and solutions, not embedded in ideology that often is unrelated to actual practical needs,” he said.
The Coalition’s policy has been ridiculed for avoiding issues regarding penalty rates and unfair dismissal laws, although it does address the power of unions to influence the workplace.
In essence, many workers’ rights will be untouched, but unions will be heavily affected. Michael O’Connor, national secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, has criticised Abetz’s motivations. “The Coalition will weaken the rights of workers – bargaining rights for example,” he said.
For an outline of the Coalition’s workplace relations policy, click here.