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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) Tony Abbott has been criticise As Andrew just messagesed,

by the Government for his

latest comments on Workplace

Relations laws. Mr Abbott has

told tourism industry leaders

the laws would be re vamped to

make way for more flexible

arjts under a Coalition

government. The Government is

making it even worse for you. There's Workplace Relations changes over the last few years

that are making it harder for

you to stay open on Sundays,

after hours, on public

holidays. There's the

increasing burden of red tape

and we will move the Workplace

Relations pend almost back to

the sense - pendulum back to

the sensible centre: You do

need more flexibility in your

workplace arrangements. The

arrangements must be more work

yanld and we will do that. Bill Shorten is the Minister for Employment and Workplace

Relations, and he joins us now

from St al bans in Melbourne.

Thank you for your time. Tony

Abbott says that the changes from the Government have made

it harder for business to

operate after hours and on Sundays and public holidays. What is your response to

that? Mr Abbott, where is your

evidence? It's easy to get up

in front of a group of business

leaders and tell them what they

want to hear and use weasel

words and say we are not like

we were when we were in

government but we want more

flexibility and weekends it's

harder to do business. Let's

decode what Mr Abbott is

saying. He is saying to

hospitality worker, to retail

workers who are amongst the

lower paid in Australia that he

will cut their penalty rates

because he wants to make the

on industrial relations. But big end of town happy with him

this is an argument that

business has been putting

forward for some time. Even

just today the Business Council

of Australia Tony Shepherd has

made similar comment, the Australian Industry Group and

Commerce and Industry, Jac the Australian Chamber of

Nasser, the built chairman in

May saying that d dr BHP

Billiton chairman in May saying

the Government's review into

the fair work Act needs to the

pendulum back into the centre.

Where is that Fair Work review

at? First let's decode weasel

words about Mr Abbott saying she wants s to things back to

the centre. What the Liberals

do when they get into power is

they cut workers conditions.

That I have a vision of

Australia which is low waidged

high profits for some people,

but low profit force the rest

of us. This is not a new

debate. For about 110 years

employers have been lining up

in Australia to say, 'We

shouldn't have shift penalty,

we shouldn't have anything

special paid to people on

weekends.' This argument is as

have haven't accepted it for old as the nation and people

110 years. Why do we want to be

the first generation of

Australians to hand on lower

conditions to our kids and our

grand kids? The people who need

penalty rates on weekends are

low paid workers. So we're

reviewing the Fair Work Act as

we said we would because when

we came into office we junked

all the old stuff which wasn't

working, we've put in what we

think is a pretty balanced set

of laws, we're doing a check on

the laws just to see how

they're going, but what I would

say to Mr Abbott is two things

- one, where is your evidence

to cut penalty rates? And, two, why don't you bring your

policies, why don't you offer

detailed policies and we and me

the Government spokes person

orn this matter will debate you

anyway place, anywhere, you can

fill up the town hall with all

the people who like the

Liberals we will debate

you. They say productivity has

fall en off as a direct result to changes to Workplace

Relations laws. They have no

evidence for that statement.

Productivity has fallen in

Australia over the last 10

years. The majority of that

time it was the old Liberal

laws in place so productivity

has fallen but it's been a

haunting secret for 10 years.

If you look at the last

three-quarter, productivity has

to improve productivity which been lifting again. If you want

is that people are doing more

with the same amount of effort

wharkts you need to do is have

high value, reasonably well

paid workplaces. If you want to

have successful businesses,

make sure that 2 jobs are

quality jobs, that motivate

employees to turn up to work

every day. I Ambarvale at St

Albans here in the western

suburbs of Melbourne in my

here don't electorate, a lot of the people

here don't earn a lot of money

and they do need, if they work

on weekends and they're away

from their pen family, they

need those penalty rates. We're

not talking about the penalty

rates for bankers, the big banks in Australia, we're

talking about people who work

in kitchen, in hotels, in

shops, and on the weekend that

means that they may get paid if

you're an adult, if you're a

mum who is 45, you may get $21

or $23 on the Sunday rather

than $17. So this is not - low

paid workers are not greedy and

they do deserve to get a

reasonable wage. How are you addressing these productivity

issues an will the Fair Work

Act review come up with some

kind of - something that will

appease business? They're two

different question, aren't

they. What are we doing on

productivity? We're making sure

Australian work ers get more

skills and training than ever

before. We want to build

infrastructure so our people

can move around the cities more

easily. We are putting in the

National Broadband Network to

allow small businesses to start

up. This railway cro crossing

dangerous in Victoria and is guarded as the most

you're held up here longer than

any other railway crossing in

Victoria. Yet Ted Bailleu in

Victoria, the Liberal Premier,

he's building an underpass not

at this railway crossing which

is in a Labor electorate but at Brighton Beach which is one of

the most affluent suburbs and

the level crossing there is

rated at 117. In other words

it's the 117th least dangerous.

So if you want to build

productivity maybe the Liberals

should spend money outside of

their suburbs in Melbourne and

we should stop trying to cut

penalty rates for workers.

No-one ever shrunk their way to

economic greatness, no-one ever

ut people's conditions from

$40,000 to $35,000 and had a

highly productivity

workplace. I want to ask you

your thoughts about this

deepening rift between Labor

and the Greens. Sorry I missed

that with the loud trucks we

mind me. I wanted to ask you

about the deepening rift

between Labor and the

Greens. Oh, well, the issue of

all preferences is a matter for

the organisational wing. I have

no doubt in my mind, though,

that this issue of boat people,

people who are being exploited,

hopping in dangerous boats an

drowning at sea, I can

understand that the Greens say

that we should just have

onshore processing. But I think

that that policy is exerting a

full factor and people are

selling desperate refugees a

false bill of goods, endangers

their lives in the case of some

people drowning. We need

offshore processing and I just

say to people who are

supportive of the Greens on

this question - and just as I'd

say to people who are

supporting Mr Abbott on this

question, now is not the time

to have an ideologically pure

position. Now the time when

human life is at risk is to put

a side your traditional

position and work out a compromise in the best interest

of the people. Thank you for