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The two faces of Kevin Andrews.



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FOR MEDIA

CRAIG EMERSON Member for Rankin

SHADOW MINISTER FOR WORKPLACE RELATIONS

13 November 2003

THE TWO FACES OF KEVIN ANDREWS

An agreement to improve the pay and working conditions of Victoria’s 400,000 most disadvantaged workers is being undermined by the sneaky behaviour of Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews.

Labor welcomes the agreement between the Victorian Government and the Commonwealth to provide 400,000 low-paid workers with federal award coverage.

But Mr Andrews is undermining these very same awards through the actions of the Employment Advocate and through separate legislation.

The Employment Advocate’s website advises Victorian employers that they can avoid the basic award conditions agreed by the Minister, by putting employees onto Australian Workplace Agreements:

Recently, the Victorian Government announced its commitment to ensuring that all Victorian workplaces worked within the Federal Award system… Awards can be lengthy, confusing documents that are hard to read and interpret… AWA’s once approved, replace the award. [http://www.oea.gov.au/docs/framework-clericaladmin.pdf, page 3]

And on 24 November the House of Representatives will continue to debate the Choice in Award Coverage Bill, which would make it harder for small business employees to gain federal award protection.

If the Minister is fair dinkum about this week’s agreement he must direct the Employment Advocate to remove this advice from the website and abandon the offending bill.

Mr Andrews is sneaking around, pretending to care for disadvantaged workers while undermining their basic conditions of employment.

Contact: Craig Emerson 0418 781 386 or Nada Delavec 0419 584 241