It’s Friday, the day professionals with itchy feet pick up the Fin for the job ads. And there are some beauties today. You can take your pick of seven – count ‘em – positions in the office of the Federal Leader of the Opposition.

They don’t look bad, and as the ad’s says, they “offer many opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in public policy development”.

But keep reading. Have you noticed the fine print? “Conditions of employment are governed by either the Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Collective Agreement 2006-2009 or for more senior positions, an Australian Workplace Agreement.”

That’s right. An AWA.

Up until only a couple of months ago there was a huge billboard of Kimbo across the access road to Canberra airport with the dear departed Labor leader promising to “tear up these unfair laws”.

“Labor never suggested that these laws would change each workplace overnight,” Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Industrial Relations Brendan O’Connor said yesterday .

“It was going to be more like a slow burn, but over time we will see an erosion of conditions of employment that make it harder for people to balance work and family, that make it harder for people to get permanent jobs and ensure that they can pay for the mortgage and look after their kids and we are beginning to see growing signs of exactly that.”

We are indeed.

Peter Fray

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