ACTU: Senate Has Critical Role In Keeping Australia Fair

Australian workers and their families are looking to the new Senate to stand up for the fair go, Australian Unions said today. 

Speaking ahead of the first sitting of the new Senate tomorrow, ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said that the Senate has a critical role in keeping Australia fair.

"Australian workers and their families want to see the basic pillars of our community upheld - fair workplaces, a decent retirement, good jobs and support for families," Mr Oliver said.

"They know they can't trust Tony Abbott to do the right thing by them so they're looking to the Senate to step in. 

"The new Senate has both a responsibility and an opportunity to deliver outcomes that keep Australia fair and support hardworking Australians and their families.

“Australian workers will support all Senators that protect the interests of working people.”

Mr Oliver said Unions will be talking to all Senators about a range of critical Government policies that hurt hardworking Australians including the removal of the Low Income Super Contribution, stopping increases to the superannuation guarantee, the return of the ABCC and of course the Budget bills that cut $80 billion in Health and Education, increase University and GP fees and cut pensions and other welfare payments. 

"There are a range of areas where Australian Unions and the new Senate can work together to deliver good outcomes for workers and their families and keep Australia fair,” Mr Oliver said.

Mr Oliver again called on Prime Minister Abbott to come clean with the community, and the new Senate, on his Government's real intentions for workplace reform.

“It’s clear that the Government’s ultimate intention is to put the whole workplace system on trial – pay and conditions, minimum wage, rights at work, collective bargaining and unfair dismissal - they just haven't been upfront about it yet," Mr Oliver said.

"By putting the brakes on a wholesale review of workplace laws, the Abbott Government has acknowledged that the same hardworking Australians that will take a hit from their budget changes to health, welfare and education are the same people whose wages and workplace conditions will be in the firing line under this review.

“This isn’t Mr Abbott backtracking on his plans to cut wages and conditions, it’s a short term political calculation to avoid alerting the Australian people that he intends to make life harder for them.

“Tony Abbott and his Government know the Australian people will reject their toxic views on industrial relations whenever they eventually decide to be honest about it.

"Australian Unions won’t stand by while Mr Abbott attacks the Australian way of life, we’ll fight so hardworking Australians get a fair go."