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(generated from captions) Welcome to the program. on the racecourse yesterday, We might have seen history made

in the Parliament today but there were some historic moments 700 pages of legislation with the introduction of nearly workplace practice in Australia, that will radically change oversight of industrial relations. centralising the control and to absorb And while MPs were still trying of explanation, the accompanying 600 pages another contentious front, the Prime Minister opened up announcing urgent legislation a "specific terrorist threat" to deal with what he called

and police agencies. reported by intelligence or where it comes from, Just what the threat is, hasn't been disclosed, the first time but it does seem to be acknowledged within Australia. such a threat has been publicly After an intelligence briefing, Howard counter-terrorism amendment, the Opposition agreed to support the story. but IR was a dramatically different Minister Kevin Andrews In a moment Workplace Relations will go head to head, and ACTU Secretary Greg Combet

Michael Brissenden. but first here's political editor

Well, whether you agree with them

not, there's no doubting the Well, whether you agree with them or

significance of the government's

industrial relations changes.

Politics is history in practice

of the time, but today was one with Politics is history in practice most

a chapter heading all of its own.

This is a very bad moment in This is a very bad moment in a chapter heading all of its own.

Australian history. A very bad

moment for Australian living

standards. This is a historic day.

It's a day in which we will be

moving in the parliament some

significant changes to the industrial relations system.

Isn't it the case that this

legislation is the biggest single

attack on the living standards of

Australian families and Australian

employees and the Australian way of

life since the minimum wage was introduced in

introduced in 1907? It's a life since the minimum wage was

significant and historic step

us from a horse and buggy 19th significant and historic step moving

century industrial relations

to a 21st century model. For broth century industrial relations finally

sides this is an argument that

itself to retorcal extremes and sides this is an argument that lends

there was plenty of that today.

A dramatic and radical

of the industrial relations system A dramatic and radical de-regulation

that will crush the living

of working Australians and that will crush the living standards of working Australians and their that will crush the living standards

families. What really does

the Opposition is not really this families. What really does aggravate

legislation, Mr Speaker. That

doesn't aggravate the Opposition.

What really aggravates the

Opposition is that the workers of

Australia are better off under this

government than they've ever been.

This has increasingly been a war

fought with expensively produced

cliches. You can't

cliches. You can't sack me. Really? fought with expensively produced

The young movement was out of the

blacks fast with its dramatisation

of evil intent. The government

countered with a much more

and sacharine ad blitz of its own. countered with a much more expensive

We're moving towards one simpler

fairer national workplace system.

system... Smiling faces aside, the fairer national workplace

$50 million investment of

money appears to have done $50 million investment of taxpayers' money appears to have done to shift $50 million investment of taxpayers'

the scepticism of these chains

showing up in the polls. While the

government was keen to influence

public opinion in its own way, it

was clearly unwilling to see that

become an extend

become an extended public political

brawl. Mr Speaker, I present the

workplace relations amendment.

amendment... In this case with the workplace relations

government controlling both houses

of parliament political history

victors. Attempts by the belongs more than ever to the

victors. Attempts by the Opposition belongs more than ever to the

to have the bill referred to a

committee for further scrutiny were

blocked as were Labor's efforts to

defer the debate due to the fact

that the bill itself had not been

widely circulated. Mr Speaker, this

is a 687-page bill, a 565-page

explanatory mem dumb. They are not

available for members in the House.

I know on that side they were, but I know on that side they were, but available for members in the House.

where are the 60 copies? Where are

the 60 copies for this side? The

minister cannot move to the second

reading until the bill, which they

don't want to be -- On the point of

order, there are two copies that

member has and he has just picked order, there are two copies that the

a number of copies from the member has and he has just picked up

yell table. Tony Abbott moved the a number of copies from the minister

The member for Perth no longer be heard.

The Opposition dissented to the member for Perth no longer be heard.

Speaker's ruling and it was an

emotional morning on the floor.

Things really got heated in the

afternoon. Question Time was a

rabble. Why did the Prime Minister

mislead the Australian people about

his true intent to reduce the pay

and strip the conditions and

entitlements of working Australians?

Order, order! Mr Speaker, these measures are not

measures are not extreme. These Order, order! Mr Speaker, these

measures -- Order, order! On it

in a similar vain for more than an measures -- Order, order! On it went

hour. 11 Labor members were ejected

from the House. At the heart of the

Opposition's parliamentary

is the fact that just 24 hours has Opposition's parliamentary complaint

been granted to debate the bill.

You have to ask yourself, Mr

Speaker, apart from dripping

contempt and arrogance and

making the incompetence, what is it that is

incompetence, what is it that is making the government behave like

this? Well, I think I know the

answer, Mr Speaker, they don't want

this bill studied. Of course it's

not just Federal Parliament who'll

be looking at this. Lawyers will be

engaged around the nation to defend

it or pick holes in it. In fact,

they're already hard at it. The

they're already hard at it. The ACTU and some of the states have already

said they plan to challenge the

Federal attempts to take over state

laws. Labor law experts like Andrew

Stuart from Flinders University

Stuart from Flinders University have only had a few hours themselves to

look through the legislation, but

look through the legislation, but he already believes the states will

have a strong case. It's quite

have a strong case. It's quite clear that what the government is trying

to do with this legislation is to

push the limits of its power to

regulate corporations and there's

regulate corporations and there's no doubt that the states are going to

go to the High Court to challenge

that. The state also be having lawyers look through

that. The state also be having their lawyers look through this

legislation, but I rather suspect

that regardless of what they find,

they're going to push ahead and try

and have that legislation declared

invalid. But perhaps surprisingly

Professor Stuart says part of the

problem is the government wasn't

brave enough. What we've in fact

brave enough. What we've in fact get here is a system that's still got a

lot of the element elements of the

old regime, plus some new ones

thrown in, in a jumbled mess with a

whole lot of detailed strat tri

provisions which are very hard to

follow. What's been very

follow. What's been very interesting is that the government even with

is that the government even with its control of the Senate, hasn't felt

it could do what New Zealand did in

1991, for example, and that's just

simply sweep away the old

legislation and put a very simple

straight forward new system of

regulation in place. Well, maybe,

but the changes are certainly significant nonetheless. For but the changes are certainly significant nonetheless. For

instance, the guaranteed minimum

wage will be scrapped and minimum

pay rates will be set by a new fair

pay commission. New employees may

have to sign individual work

contracts just to get the job and

over time these contracts are like

will to become the norm. Up for negotiation will be conditions

previously taken for granted, such

as two weeks of your holiday pay,

leave loadings, overtime, penalty

rates, shift loadings and sick pay. The

rates, shift loadings and sick pay. The government argues this will

allow for much greater flexibility

for workers and employers alike.

Companies that play less than 100

people will also be exempt from

unfair dismissal claims. And of

course there's plenty more

complicated legal detail. And

speaking of complicated legal

issues... Ladies and gentlemen, the

toerm and I have called this news

conference to announce that after

conference to announce that after Question Time today the

Attorney-General will introduce

Attorney-General will introduce into the House an urgent amendment to

the House an urgent amendment to the existing counter-terrorism

legislation. We will seek passage

legislation. We will seek passage of that amendment through all stages

this evening. The states are still

sorting through the fine print of

the counter-terrorism legislation,

but today the Prime Minister

announced this urgent amendment to

deal with a specific intelligence

warning of an imminent terrorist

threat. There were no details made warning of an imminent terrorist threat. There were no details made

public, but despite the concern

public, but despite the concern that is still evident in some quarters

about the wider bill, there were

also no objections from the states

to this. If you go into a lot of

detail and you wreck the operation,

the Australian public will not

forgive you. OK? Now, in those

situations, I have in alternative

but to say to my fell le

Australians, we have received

information, we have been told by

the authorities, that their information, we have been told by the authorities, that their

the authorities, that their capacity to dole with it will be

to dole with it will be strengthened by this change to the law. I have

discussed it with the alternative

Prime Minister, I've given him

access to the same material that's

come my way, and I'm asking the

Australian public and the

Australian public and the Australian parliament to accept that we are

acting in a bona fide way to do the

right thing by the country. Now, I

can't go into any more detail

because if I do

because if I do I might weak

can't go into any more detail because if I do I might weaken the

capacity of authorities to respond.

Detail or not, there was at least

initially considerable scepticism

from Labor ranks about the timing

from Labor ranks about the timing of this announcement. With the heat

still in the detail of the wider

terror legislation and the focus on

the contentious IR bill. It is

understood that Kim Beazley even

raised his scepticism with the

raised his scepticism with the Prime Minister, but as he told his

colleagues in Caucus, there might Minister, but as he told his colleagues in Caucus, there might

colleagues in Caucus, there might be suspicion about the timing but it

suspicion about the timing but it is rare to be briefed on these matters

and in the end you do just have to

go with it. We take these matters

go with it. We take these matters of national security very seriously.

It's for other people to make

judgments about the politics of it.

A majority of the

A majority of the states have now

grade to sign up to the wider

counter-terrorism legislation. It

may even be introduced by the end

may even be introduced by the end of the week. Despite some concerns on

both sides in Federal Parliament,

the terror bill will not be ongoing political battle.

the terror bill will not be ongoing political battle. The 700-page

workplace relations bill, though,

workplace relations bill, though, is another matter all together. And on

that front at least the Senate will

get to conduct an inquiry into

get to conduct an inquiry into those 700 pages over four days the week