Nov 10, 2005

Albanese Rejects Industrial Relations Reforms



10 Novemeber 2005

Anthony Albanese MP, Federal Member for Grayndler, rejected the government’s Industrial Relations reforms outright in Parliament today, and reaffirmed the Australian Labor Party’s commitment to pursue amendments which would kill the extreme legislation.

He also expressed his disgust at the government’s continued gagging of debate on the legislation.

Mr Albanese said, “This is perhaps the most important legislation to come before this parliament since Federation, because it changes the very nature of Australia. It changes the nature of a fair go.”

“As a result of this legislation, decent, hardworking Australians who keep this economy going will have their wages and conditions cut, because they will be placed in a situation whereby they will agree to have their wages and conditions cut, have their hours increased, lose their overtime, lose their leave loading. They will be put in a position whereby the employer can say: ‘You cop this, or I’ll find someone else who will’.”

Mr Albanese rejected the government’s claims that the changes would improve productivity, saying “There is not a serious economist in the land who argues that this is a key to productivity. We should listen to the OECD and to what serious economists are saying about the key to economic growth and productivity, and that is skills. It is a lack of skills and a lack of investment in infrastructure that is holding this economy back.”

“This legislation is just a product of the government having the numbers in the Senate. We know what they think of workers. We saw the dogs and balaclavas on the waterfront. This is the legislative equivalent of putting dogs and balaclavas into every workplace in the country, because that is what this government is about,” Mr Albanese concluded.

Mr Albanese encouraged as many people as possible to attend the National Day of Community protest this Tuesday 15 November 2005, starting at 8.30am at various locations around the Inner West and Sydney city. Mr Albanese will be speaking at the rally at Martin Place. For details of locations, contact Unions NSW on 9264 1691.