Thursday, March 20, 2008

Libs Won't Bury WorkChoices

Following their defeat at the election last November, senior members of the Liberal Party said that “WorkChoices is dead.” On the basis that voters “have spoken”. Joe Hockey, having tried to defend the indefensible as Minister for Workplace Relations, was among them.

On 19 Feb, The Liberal Party Deputy Leader, Julie Bishop spoke the media outside Parliament House in Canberra and said the same thing – WorkChoices is dead. (see here)

Yesterday, the new Labor Government’s legislation to dismantle the most evil part of WorkChoices – individual contracts, or AWA’s – was passed by the Senate. The Opposition did not vote for it, but they did not oppose it.

Later, the Government gave the Opposition what can only be called a flogging – a flogging amplified by almost every news report. The Government moved a motion that Parliament would never again legislate to introduce individual worker contrats – AWA’s. The Opposition went ballistic: they raised points of order, called for divisions, and some walked out. These were the same people who stood before the media and “WorkChoices is dead”. They voted against the motion, leaving the door open for a future Coalition government to say – we didn’t agree; and reintroduce AWA’s.

The government will doubtless remind voters, often and loudly, the Opposition secretly wants to resurrect WorkChoices. The Opposition can only blame itself – it said WorkChoices was dead, but wouldn’t bury it.