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Monday, 7 November 2005
Page: 81

Debate resumed from 3 November, on motion by Mr Andrews:

That this bill be now read a second time.

upon which Mr Stephen Smith moved by way of amendment:

That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

“the House declines to give the bill a second reading, because the House condemns the Government:

(a)   for failing to allow the House of Representatives and the Australian people proper scrutiny of the Bill prior to the debate in the House;

(b)   for spending over $55 million dollars of taxpayers’ money advertising Liberal Party policy proposals before the WorkChoices legislation has entered the Parliament;

(c)   for misleading the Australian people in those advertisements by making unsubstantiated assertions about the benefits of these changes and misrepresenting the extent to which employees will lose their rights under the WorkChoices legislation;

(d)   for creating an industrial relations system that is extreme, unfair and divisive;

(e)   for failing to put working families first in developing its plans to dramatically change Australia’s industrial relations laws;

(f)   specifically, for failing to commission and publish a Family Impact Statement as promised during the election for all family related legislation;

(g)   for failing to provide a guarantee that no individual Australian employee will be worse off under the extreme industrial relations changes;

(h)   for attacking the living standards of Australian employees and their families by removing the ‘no disadvantage test’ from collective and individual agreements;

(i)   by allowing employees to be forced onto unfair Australian Workplace Agreements as a condition of employment

(j)   for abolishing annual wage increases made by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission for workers under Awards with the objective of reducing the Minimum Wage in real terms, and by removing the requirement that fairness be taken into account in the calculation of the Minimum Wage;

(k)   for delaying the next National Wage Case by a period of six months, so that at least 1.7 million workers under Awards will not receive a wage increase for a period of 18 months or longer;

(l)   for undermining family life by proposing to give employers the power to change employees’ work hours without reasonable notice;

(m)   for destroying rights achieved through the hard work of generations of Australian workers;

(n)   for undermining the principles of fairness that underpinned the Australian industrial relations system for the past hundred years;

(o)   for gutting the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and eliminating the role of an independent umpire to ensure fair wages and conditions and resolve disputes;

(p)   for developing proposals that will deliberately distort the workplace bargaining relationship in favour of employers and against employees;

(q)   for denying Australian employees the capacity to bargain collectively with their employer for decent wages and conditions;

(r)   for denying individuals the right to reject individual contracts which cut pay and conditions and undermine collective bargaining and union representation;

(s)   for allowing individual contracts to undermine the rights of Australian workers under collective agreements and Awards, for instance by eliminating penalty rates, shift loadings, overtime and holiday pay and other Award conditions;

(t)   for removing from almost 4 million employees any protection from unfair dismissal;

(u)   for refusing to consult with State Governments in developing a unitary industrial relations system resulting in an inadequate and incomplete national system;

(v)   for launching an unprovoked attack on responsible trade unions and asserting that those unions have no role in the economic and social future of Australia;

(w)   for proposing to jail union representatives or fine them up to $33,000 if they negotiate to include health and safety, training and other clauses in agreements;

(x)   for ignoring the concerns of the Australian community and Churches of the adverse impact these changes will have on Australian employees and their families;

(y)   for failing to guarantee that wages will be sustained or increased in real terms under these changes; and

(z)   for seeking to justify these measures by asserting that slashing wages will somehow make Australia more competitive, more productive, and increase employment”.