Changes to workplace policy unlikely

by Cameron Edmond21 Aug 2013

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.

Abetz said consistency and certainty in industrial relations is important to the Australian public, The Financial Review reported.

“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.


  • by soozy 21/08/2013 2:39:10 PM

    have you read their policy? how can you say changes are unlikely? ABCC reinstated, introduction of IFAs allowed to undercut agreements and awards, restrictions on union access to worksites, changes to greenfield agreements so bosses bargain with themselves. How can workers rights be unaffected if the rights of their representatives are restricted?

  • by RivercityIR 22/08/2013 8:45:05 AM

    I wouldn't place too much emphasis on what employer associations have to say. If they spent more time assisting and educating their members on the Fair Work Act instead of behaving like pseudo political parties than employers would be better off. The Act does not need any changes. There is nothing in there saying that you can't have productivity or flexibility. They won't change very much, if anything, to do with IR. I do suspect however that the time of Unions not paying taxes will come to an end.

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