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IR Bill a disadvantage to the disadvantaged and the ALP.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Murray Democrats Senator for Western Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Workplace Relations

Dated: 16 November 2005 Press Release Number: qceoqoir Portfolio: Workplace Relations

More from Senator Andrew Murray on Workplace Relations

IR Bill a Disadvantage to the Disadvantaged and the ALP

At the third day of the WorkChoices Bill Senate inquiry, the Committee heard that the Bill would result in greater disadvantage to those already disadvantaged in the workplace. The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) gave evidence that the 5 minimum conditions leave out conditions that are crucial to people with disability obtaining and retaining employment. In particular, omission of rostering limits and penalty rates and overtime, could see employees with disabilities being required to work times that they are unable to cope with, or would increase costs for those reliant on formal personal assistance. Australian Democrats Workplace Relations Spokesperson, Senator Andrew Murray argued that "The default to 5 minimum conditions will have a negative impact on able workers and their ability to balance work and family. For people with disabilities it will be catastrophic as it will harm their ability to obtain or retain employment. This is unacceptable. "Clearly there needs to be greater safeguards and protections for disadvantaged people, including people with a disability, particularly in light of the Government's tough welfare to work proposal, and the Democrats will push for appropriate protections," said Senator Murray. On a second matter, from coalition questions it has been obvious that there is a political motive in play. It is apparent that the Bill will disadvantage the ALP, the Coalitions main competitor," Senator Murray said. "There are several elements of the Bill that will ultimately weaken the union movement and quite possibly see a decline in membership. Given that unions are one of the ALPs largest donors, reduction in union membership will impact financially on the ALP. "On a third issue, it has emerged that the excessive Ministerial discretion will prove a double-edge sword. The Ministerial discretion to interfere in agreement making will come back to bite them. If the ALP regains Government, we can expect to see the ALP Minister using Ministerial discretion to directly determine enterprise wages and conditions. Business like it now. See how theyll like it then! concluded Senator Murray.