Daily Archives: September 17, 2008

New industral laws under the ALP

BT’s podcast of ABC report of Julia Gillard’s IR speech at the National Press Club 17 Sept 2008

Julia Gillard - Deputy Prime Minister

Julia Gillard – Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion.

Fair Work Australia — The following comment(s) from Julia Gillard on Unfair Dismissal:

“In the past small business operators have raised genuine concerns about the impact of unfair dismissal laws on their business activities. The Government agrees with them that they should be allowed to get on with running their businesses, making a profit and giving people jobs,” she said.

When you look at it workers working in small business have never been able to bargain collectively — at least not in an effective way. There are big unions involved in small business like the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association SDA however they have not organised effectively in small business at the grass roots level preferring to cut deals with big businesses like Woolworths and governments to serve their members.

So for all Gillard’s talk at the National Press Club and in the parliament, her claims of ‘forward with fairness’ — at least in small business — is a nullity. Her laws carry little weight at the shopfloor level where the small business owner has always held the upper hand.

“The previous Liberal government swept aside all unfair dismissal protections for employees of businesses with fewer than 100 employees. And if various former Liberal ministers are to be believed, the Liberal Party wanted to go further and junk protection for every one.”

Workers never came off very well under the unfair dismissal laws even before WorkChoices.

In 2003, before WorkChoices, only 42 out of over 8,000 workers who were unfairly dismissed were reinstated by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission . Good for the 42 that got their jobs back but what about the other 4,000 who would have paid out more to their lawyers than they would have been awarded under the WorkPlace Relations Act [See AIRC yearly report 2003].

The rulings of the Industrial Relations Tribunal under Labor’s unfair dismissal laws did not do much for workers either, as most workers did not have the wherewithal to even get their cases heard, much less get a decent result from lawyers in the IR club so distant from the workplace.

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Call for Royal Commission on Refugees

4 Corners Program confirms need for Royal Commission

ABCs Four Corners image

Access ABC's Four Corners The Guard's Story online by clicking on image (wait a few secs for it to load).

Monday night’s 4 Corners report demonstrates that Australia’s refugee policy cannot be swept under the carpet with a few cosmetic changes.

The Howard detention policies infringed the most basic and minimal of human rights.

Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in the film footage of the brutal removal of Cornelia Rau from Baxter. Continue reading