Senator Simon Birmingham has called on the Member for Wakefield, Nick Champion, to speak for himself and not try to put words into the mouths of others.
Responding to a press release issued by Mr Champion, Senator Birmingham said that Mr Champion needed to be careful his party’s industrial relations reforms don’t sell the jobs of his electors down the river.
“As a newly elected Member of Parliament, who will only be sworn in tomorrow, Nick Champion could do with learning not to verbal his colleagues,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Instead of falsely attributing statements or beliefs to others, he should be focusing on working for his electors, particularly ensuring their jobs are protected against Labor’s plans to re-regulate the labour market and reintroduce unfair dismissal laws that stifled employment by small businesses for many years.
“While the WorkChoices reforms were clearly rejected by the Australian people, a point accepted by the Liberal leadership, Labor’s plans will take industrial relations in Australia back to a time that predates WorkChoices by many years.
“Mr Champion needs to explain why Labor plans to introduce a new form of individual statutory agreement similar to AWAs but give it a life of only two years.
“If Labor’s Interim Transition Employment Agreements, which are individual contracts, are fair and necessary for two years, why are they not fair and necessary for four years, eight years or indefinitely?
“Employees and employers have enjoyed the right to negotiate an individual agreement, with appropriate safeguards, for more than a decade. These were reforms Australians embraced and accepted. They gave increased flexibility to all parties and helped to drive the remarkable job growth Australia has enjoyed.
“In South Australia alone unemployment fell from 9.4% when the Liberal Government was elected in March 1996 to 4.8% by the time of last year’s November election, with more than 116,000 jobs created in that time.
“Mr Champion would be well advised to stop worrying about what I might or might not have said in the Liberal partyroom and start worrying about what changes will be necessary to Labor’s policies to protect these jobs and continue strong growth.”