Dec 7, 2005

Workplace laws to impact on small businesses and families in Grayndler: Albanese

Workplace laws to impact on small businesses and families in Grayndler: Albanese

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

7 December 2005

Anthony Albanese, Federal Member for Grayndler, spoke out again about the impact of the Howard Government’s extreme workplace laws, which passed the Parliament and entered the Australian community today.

Mr Albanese said, “As a result of this legislation, decent, hardworking Australians who keep this economy going will have their wages and conditions cut, their hours increased, and will lose their overtime and their leave loading because 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 drew particular attention to the laws that will enable small businesses with less than 100 employees to sack workers or groups of workers without providing a reason, saying it had the potential to affect tens of thousands of local families.

“There are approximately 6195 businesses in the electorate with less than 100 people. Over time, many of these businesses will be forced to lower wages and conditions to compete with businesses in other parts of Australia and internationally,” said Mr Albanese.

“It is an ideological obsession of John Howard’s that we need to compete with India and China on the basis of wages. It is an ideological obsession by a Prime Minister stuck in the past, and it will hurt local workers and their families.”

Mr Albanese went on, “There has been no economic case whatsoever put forward in support of these workplace changes, and there is not a serious economist in the land who argues that they are 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.”

“What we need is a high-skill, high-wage economy for Australia. That is why Labor have pursued amendments to the bill so vigorously, and that is why we will pursue these amendments for the next two years,” Mr Albanese continued.

“These new workplace laws are just a product of an arrogant, out of touch government which has 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,” he concluded.