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Albanese compares Morrison IR push to Howard's WorkChoices

Politics

Anthony Albanese has used his speech at the South Australian Labor conference to pick apart the federal government’s workplace and industrial relations strategies.

 

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The Labor leader on Saturday addressed the party faithful in the company of state Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas and federal colleagues including Penny Wong and Mark Butler, and gave the audience a history lesson.

“Fifteen years ago – on 27 March, 2006 – WorkChoices came into effect,” Albanese said.

“It was the cruel fulfilment of one of the Howard government’s ideological obsessions.”

Backlash to the IR laws was widely credited with federal Labor’s rise to power at the 2007 election.

“The Howard government may be long gone, but its ideology lingers,” Albanese said, accusing Scott Morrison of creating a WorkChoices’ sequel.

“In the fog of a pandemic, he tried to ram through (parliament changes) that struck at the rights and conditions of working Australians,” Albanese said, adding that if successful, it would have made jobs less secure and cut pay.

Earlier in March the government dumped the vast majority of its proposed industrial relations reforms including wage theft penalties.

Provisions criminalising wage theft, changes to enterprise bargaining, award simplification and extended long-term pay agreements for major projects were thrown out.

The prime minister blamed Labor for leading opposition to the bill although his government also failed to win crossbench support for the measures.

“There are many in the Senate and the Labor Party in particular who don’t share my passion for creating jobs,” Morrison said at the time.

-AAP

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