As much as we’d like to steer away from politics, we believe the following political article makes some valid and very scary points indeed with regards to the upcoming federal election.
Fact: During the 2011 NSW Election, NSW Barry O’Farrell remained tight lipped about the plans he had for workers. He never mentioned he would be cutting 15,000 jobs, He never said he would slash workers comp benefits, or that he would remove the rights of workers in NSW, but once he got into power he did.
According to Unions NSW, now Tony Abbott is using Barry’s script and saying nothing.
“Don’t be fooled”, Unions NSW warns.
“We can’t let the Liberals get away with it again.”
Will Tony Abbott follow in Barry O Farrell footsteps?
The NSW injured workers are the ones suffering as a result of the changes made to Workers Compensation NW System by the Barry O’Farrell Liberal Government. With the federal election only weeks away, Tony Abbott has made it very clear, that, if elected, he will not intervene to reverse the effects these changes are now having on the people of NSW – quote made by Mr Abbott on John Laws Radio 2SM “I’m reluctant to interfere, particularly where I think the states are moving in the right direction.”
Furthermore the injured workers of Victoria also appear to be on the chopping board – what if Tony Abbott backs Denise Cosgrove’s pruning?
Very scary times lie ahead…
Tony Abbott is singing off Barry O’Farrell’s song sheet
WORKERS in New South Wales could be forgiven for feeling a pretty unsettling sense of déjà vu at the moment.
A Liberal leader is on the campaign trail, and he is going out of his way to reassure everyone that if he takes office, there will be no negative impact on workers.
Tony Abbott promises that jobs won’t be lost, rights at work won’t be stripped away, entitlements won’t be cut, and protections won’t be weakened.
Voters have heard this before
But NSW voters heard this exact same lullaby in very recent history. It was sung by Barry O’Farrell during the 2011 election.
Yet what happened when Mr O’Farrell took office is exactly the same as always happens when the Liberals are allowed to pull the levers of power.
Workers get hit hard.
NSW voters were not told in 2011 that the workers compensation safety net would be cut away, meaning those injured at work will face life-shattering expenses. They were not told that 15,000 public sector jobs would be slashed, devastating individual lives and local economies. Nor were they told that wages for police, for nurses, for firefighters – and for all other public sector workers – would be capped at levels below inflation.
Voters were not told in 2011 that public assets like our ports and power infrastructure would be sold off to the private sector. And they were not told that the state’s independent workplace umpire, the Industrial Relations Commission, would be critically weakened.
None of this was mentioned at all on the campaign trail – indeed, most of it was emphatically denied.
I suppose at least Tony Abbott, by comparison, is being up front about a few of the attacks on workers he will introduce.
He is up front about reintroducing the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), whose sole role under the Howard Government was to harass and intimidate union members on construction sites.
He is upfront about the fact that the superannuation guarantee rise that is scheduled for next year (from 9.25% to 9.5%) will be halted. And he is upfront about a review of the Fair Work Act, which is overwhelmingly likely to swing power back toward employers.
But I think voters in NSW have every right to cast a pretty jaundiced eye at Tony Abbott when he starts denying previous positions he has held and contradicting his senior frontbenchers.
When he says that penalty rates are not in his sights. When he says award conditions won’t be cut.
When he says that halting the rise of the superannuation guarantee will only be ‘temporary’, and that he will eventually continue with Labor’s incremental plan to get it to 12%. And when he says he will retain the power of the Fair Work Commission.
Abbott will use the O’Farrell playbook
In fact, it should now be abundantly clear to NSW voters what Mr Abbott and his Liberal team will do if he wins office.
He will use the O’Farrell playbook: rather than charging through the front door with a WorkChoices-style plan all at once, his attacks on workers’ rights and conditions will carried out one-by-one. It will be WorkChoices by stealth.
The Liberals will always dance to the tune of their backers and natural constituency – big business. And big business is certainly not shy about declaring what they want to see: scrapped penalty rates, a slashed minimum wage, the abandonment of collective bargaining, and the eradication of the Fair Work Act in favour of WorkChoices Mk II.
It is deeply disturbing to think of the pincer movement NSW workers would be caught in should Mr Abbott win in September. They find themselves simultaneously attacked by Barry from Macquarie St and Tony from Canberra.
We need to ensure that there is some sort of balance. Otherwise the next few years could be tough indeed for working people in this state.
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