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Barnaby backs Labor on welfare changes.

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Media Release

Penny Wong Labor Senator for South Australia Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility

Wednesday 19 October, 2005


Senator Barnaby Joyce has echoed Labor’s concern for the future of people with a disability and sole parents, when the Howard Government’s extreme welfare and industrial relations changes collide, Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said today.

People with a disability and single parents will be required to work under proposed welfare changes, but they will have little protection from workplace exploitation under the proposed industrial relations changes.

“People with a disability and sole parents will have little power to bargain with employers under the extreme industrial relations changes.

“Until now, job-seekers have been protected from exploitation by not having to accept jobs that are deemed “unsuitable”. But the Howard Government’s changes strip away these protections.

“People with a disability and sole parents now face a miserable work choice: get exploited or get nothing.

“If the Prime Minister’s favourite job-seeker, Billy, were actually a single dad, and was offered an Australian Workplace Agreement which explicitly removes award conditions for public holidays, rest breaks, bonuses, annual leave loading, allowances, penalty rates and shift and overtime loadings, Centrelink would require him to take the job.

“And if he didn't take the job because it would interfere with his parenting, Billy risks losing his income support and not having any means to raise his children.

“Labor took up the fight on this issue in the parliament last week, and we are glad to see that Senator Joyce was listening.

“Unfortunately, the Prime Minister is too out of touch to care.”

For further information: • John Olenich 0408 841 850