Opposition leader, Tony Abbott has confirmed the Coalition’s plans to reintroduce individual contracts and to amend unfair dismissal protection as significant components to its industrial relations policy.
Appearing on the ABC’s Q & A program, Mr Abbott indicated the key elements that the Liberal party would take to this year’s federal election. Further details will be available once the Coalition has released its IR policy.
Despite its intention to reintroduce individual contracts, Mr Abbott stated that there would be “a strong no-disadvantage test” and that no one would be “forced to leave their current arrangements to go onto different ones”.
Mr Abbott further stated that “if we have reasonable individual agreement arrangements, if we keep the unfair dismissal monkey off the back of very small business, if we have a strong cop on the beat, like the ABCC, I think we’ll have a productive, fair and a free workplace”.
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Sharan Burrow said, “Mr Abbott’s admissions were a sign of his extreme views on removing workers’ rights and showed the Liberals were still wedded to Howard-era policies. If introduced, it would significantly shift the balance of power in the workplace in favour of employers”.
Ms Burrows submitted that “workers would be faced with the situation so many people found under Work Choices where they would not get a job unless they signed an individual contract that cut their pay, conditions and rights”, and that the unions were determined to ensure that this did not happen.