Greens plan to extend Labor IR laws

The Greens will back Labor on most of its industrial relations changes but will push it to go further in key areas such as industrial action and right of entry, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says.

In a speech to the Australian Industry Group earlier this week, Siewert outlined the approach her party will adopt in dealing with Labor’s IR changes. Although the final make-up of the new Senate is yet to be confirmed, Labor will almost certainly have to rely on votes from the Greens and independents to pass its IR laws.

Siewert told the conference the Greens will support Labor’s key promises to abolish AWAs, remove the exemption from unfair dismissal and expand the safety net of protected pay and conditions.

But on the rights of workplace entry for unionists and the circumstances in which workers can take legal industrial action – both areas where Labor has promised largely to retain current laws – Siewert says the Greens will consider moving their own amendments.

The Greens would seek to “remove excessive limitations” on union entry and remove restrictions on industrial relations to all but workers in essential services.

Siewert also said the Greens opposed the use of the corporations power in the Constitution to underpin federal industrial relations laws, but would “consider mechanisms for fixing the mess WorkChoices created”.


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