DEPUTY OPPOSITION Leader Julie Bishop has announced her party will not oppose the Federal Government’s Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Bill.
“The Coalition party room unanimously endorsed the position that I put to the party room that it would not oppose the passage of the legislation in the House,” Bishop, who is also the Opposition’s workplace relations spokeswoman, told reporters in Canberra. “We will not oppose the abolition of AWAs”.
The announcement represents a turnaround in the Liberal Party position on AWAs, and follows comments by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that labelled the Liberals “out of touch”.
“The Liberal Party seems to have lost touch completely with the Australian community. If there was one thing upon which the last election was a referendum, it was the future of WorkChoices and AWAs,” the Prime Minister told Parliament last week.
Bishop said the Coalition would forward put an amendment over the nominal expiry date of individual contracts, and argue for the rights of employers to enter into individual agreements with employees.
But, even if Labor does not accept the amendment, the opposition will stand aside to allow the Bill to pass through the Senate unopposed.
“If Labor doesn’t accept this amendment, we will not oppose the passage of the Bill through the house,” Bishop told reporters.