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Coalition continues to play politics with unfair dismissal.

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28 June 2002

Coalition continues to play politics with unfair dismissal

Last night the Coalition showed it is only interested in getting a double-dissolution trigger on unfair dismissal, rather than improving the system for businesses and workers.

The Howard Government rejected amendments put forward by Labor to its Orwellian-titled “Fair Dismissal” Bill that would have replaced the Coalition’s small business exemption with constructive measures to lower costs and simplify procedures in the unfair dismissal system.

Instead, the Government insisted on its now seven-times-failed small business exemption, which would deprive small business employees of job security while exposing small businesses to more complex and costly common law litigation.

The Government says it’s OK to sack people unfairly if they happen to work for a small business. Labor says this is the wrong approach - we can fix the system without throwing away people’s rights. You don’t create jobs by making it easier to sack people.

The Government rejected Senate amendments that would have:

• Cut legal costs by reducing the role of lawyers in the early stages of unfair dismissal claims;

• Improved unfair dismissal procedures; and

• Reduced uncertainty and confusion about unfair dismissal laws.

The Government’s rejection of constructive amendments from the Senate shows that it wants a double-dissolution trigger, not constructive reforms that would benefit small businesses and workers through simplified procedures.

For further information: Jonathan Kirkwood 0425 231 690

Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow M inister for W orkplace Relations

Robert McClelland MP