New Australian industrial relations legislation passes House of Representatives

Friday, November 11, 2005

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The new Australian industrial relations legislation, dubbed "WorkChoices" by the Government, passed the House of Representatives November 10. It is to be considered next by the Senate.

The House session became tumultuous, with the Leader of the House Tony Abbott moving a motion to permit an hour to the consideration in detail stage of the bill, comparing the amount of debate on other bills to this one, stating "we have had very, very extensive debate" and that "members opposite are not interested in debating this bill, they are not interested in trying to improve this bill; they simply want to reject this bill". The Manager of Opposition Business in the House, Julia Gillard (Abbott's opposition counterpart), had noted that "more than 20 Labor members are going to be silenced by this motion which is gagging debate", and when Abbott moved to put the question, "and, here we go, we are going to have a gag on a gag. You’re proud of that, are you? You’re proud of that?"

As Annette Ellis amongst others was one of the aforementioned speakers who had not the time to speak in the debate, she asked whether she could incorporate her speech into Hansard — the Government granted leave for all speakers who intended to speak but could not to incorporate their speeches into Hansard.

In the consideration in detail stage, the Federal Opposition had moved a number of amendments to the legislation, one which would effectively — as Stephen Smith had put it — "kill the bill", another which would rename the bill to the "Workplace Relations Amendment (Cut Wages, Cut Conditions and Entitlements, No Fairness, No Work Choices) Bill 2005", but this amendment was ruled out of order by the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, David Hawker.

These amendments failed due to the Government majority in the house, and subsequently the bill was successfully read a third time.


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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
  • Australian House of Representatives Hansard, November 10, 2005.