Opposition wary of proposed IR changes
Some federal Opposition members are criticising the Government's industrial
relations changes, despite promising to support the bill in the Lower House of
The Government's Fair Work Bill is being debated in the House of
The Opposition says it will let the bill go through to the Senate but is
reserving the right to move amendments.
Opposition workplace relations spokesman Michael Keenan says he is deeply
concerned that the bill will increase unemployment.
"Just as Australians understand that the Labor Party stands for deficits, they
also understand that Labor stands for unemployment," he said.
"The Deputy Prime Minister risks becoming the empress of unemployment."
Liberal backbencher Stuart Robert says the Government's bill breaks a list of
promises, particularly about the unions' right of entry to workplaces.
"These are things Mr Deputy Speaker did not vote for, in fact the Australian
people were expressly and explicitly told the exact opposite," he said.
"They were told that many of these features would not be in any new
But Labor MP Greg Combet says the Government's bill must be passed intact to
improve the rights and conditions of workers.
"The Fair Work Bill does represent a huge improvement in the rights of the
working people of this country, and represents a tremendous step forward in
respecting fundamental values of fairness and justice and decent treatment," he
Labor backbencher Jim Turnour says the bill balances the interests of
Australian workers and their employers.
"This legislation delivers on Labor's commitment to deliver fairness and
flexibility into the Australian workplace, the commitment we made to the
Australian people at the last election," he said.