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Greens will use Senate to ensure workplace fairness

The Australia Greens have voiced serious concerns that a Coalition Government would bow to pressure from big business to make unfair changes to Australia’s workplace laws.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens IR spokesperson, notes media reports today have highlighted how changes to industrial relations could be made without altering the Fair Work Act, risking the job security and employment conditions of many Australian workers.

“It is clear, as Professor Stewart is reported as saying today, Mr Abbott can make significant change to workplace laws, without actually changing the Fair Work Act,” Senator Siewert said.

“Mr Abbott can use regulations to make unfair dismissal easier for small business or allow overtime and penalty rates to be abolished, without needing to do anything to the Fair Work Act.

“If these measures came before the Senate, the Australian Greens would act to protect the rights of workers across the country.

“The Greens have a proven track record in this area. We strongly opposed Work Choices when the Howard Government dominated the House of Representatives and the Senate, and we helped the Rudd Government introduce the Fair Work Act after the last election.

“We’re committed to improving the Fair Work Act, not regressing to the bad industrial relations regime of the last Coalition Government. Thousands of Australians are more secure in their jobs today than they were under Work Choices.

“The Greens in the balance of power is the only protection against these retrograde steps,” Senator Siewert said.

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