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ACTU Claims Most Australians Against New IR Laws

March 27 2006 - A new poll conducted for the the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) found considerable opposition to the Federal Government's new IR laws which came into force today. The ACTU claims that there is a general belief that the Howard Government is acting in the interests of big business over the rights of Australian working families.

The survey of a thousand voters was conducted in 24 key coalition held marginal seats during late February and early March as part of the ACTU's ongoing campaign against the new industrial relations laws.

The survey results indicated that fewer than 1 in four Australians support the laws, with nearly 7 out of 10 believing the new IR laws will benefit big corporations and their CEOs while damaging the imterests of ordinary families.

The main findings of the survey were:

  • 72% of respondents supported unfair dismissal laws that protect workers.
  • 59% believed that "the Government's new IR laws alone are a strong reason to vote against the Government" at the next federal election.
  • 70% believed that individual contracts give too much power to employers.
  • 68% thought that the new laws were strong evidence that John Howard governs more for corporate Australia than for ordinary working families.
  • 60% felt that collective bargaining provided better job security for employees.
  • 66% believed that the IR laws were a threat to working families.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

"Today, Australian working families lose unfair dismissal laws, the strong award system, the safety net, the right to a minimum wage, laws that protect the right to collectively bargain, and laws that have ensured fair representation by unions at the workplace.

"The public are asking why the Government would introduce laws that are so obviously designed to take working families wages and conditions backwards, and to remove basic rights for workers at the workplace.

"Despite $50 million of Government advertising and a year of spin, the public is aware that the Government is introducing these laws to benefit big business at the expense of ordinary working families."

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