Coalition small business spokesman Steven Ciobo says he believes the Coalition should retain its position in favour of an exemption on unfair dismissal for small business.
Since the ascension of new Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson, there has been debate within the Coalition over whether it should avoid political damage by not opposing the passage of Labor’s IR reforms.
One newspaper reports today that there is a growing view within Coalition ranks that Labor has won the IR battle and that they should just “walk away” from the issue.
But Ciobo says he remains strongly in favour of a Coalition policy stance in favour of an exemption from unfair dismissal for small business.
“I absolutely believe in an unfair dismissal exemption for small business,” Ciobo says. “I remain committed to maintaining an exemption for small business from unfair dismissal laws.”
But Ciobo indicated there could be some merit in considering a change to the size of business that could claim the exemption, previously pegged at 100 employees.
“How that principle will manifest in terms of exemption numbers or magic number in terms of probation periods, that sort of detail we’ll thrash out in due course,” he says.
The Coalition is expected to work out the position it will adopt in the first Parliament in relation to the first tranche of Labor’s industrial relations changes at a party room meeting next week.
In other IR news, the Australian Council of Trade Unions will today release its list of priorities for the new year after a two-day gathering of senior union leaders.
The ACTU is expected to adopt a renewed focus on collective bargaining in lower paid industries, such as hospitality and retail, and a push for increases in superannuation contributions by employers instead of potentially inflationary pay rises.