Feb 11, 2013

Workplace flexibility: where (almost) everyone gets to grandstand

The government's proposal to expand the right to ask for workplace flexibility was a grandstanding opportunity for everyone except its target, the Coalition.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

There’s something for everyone in the Prime Minister’s rather vague announcement about extending the right to request flexible working arrangements to parents returning from parental leave — everyone, that is, except the opposition.

A little background: the Fair Work Act established a right for carers/parents with kids under school age, or with disabled kids, with 12 months’ ongoing employment, or long-term casuals, to ask employers for flexible working arrangements. The right is entirely limited to asking: employers can knock back requests on “reasonable business grounds”.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

46 thoughts on “Workplace flexibility: where (almost) everyone gets to grandstand

  1. Jimmy

    Abbott will have to “bite” at some point, surely he won’t be allowed to got to the election without an IR policy.

    On a related matter anyone find it funny that News Ltd papers ran an article on the 1990’s home reno’s of the PM (again with no new evidence of wrong doing) on the same day Abbott puts forward a bill increasing the penlaties for corrupt Union officials?

  2. MJPC

    Of course the LNP won’t be drawn in and make comment as their willing foot soldiers in the ever compliant employer groups are doing their work for them, with the usual bleating about how hard they are doing, how less regulation is more for them and similar trite comments.
    Of course they are ably assisted by the joke that passes off for informed commentary in this country, when interviewers let pass their assinine comments without probing questions.
    Abbott and his fellow travellers can run but can’t hide on the issue of industrial relations, a debate I am anxious to hear.

  3. Jimmy

    MJPC – If Abbott does finally come out with a IR policy and it is skewwed back in favour of employers the govt SHOULD be able to tie a few things together and tell a very persuasive story.

    In the past couple of weeks he has committed to rolling back means testing of private health insurance & FTB while dumping the shcool kids bonus (ie cutting payments to lower income famil ies and restoring them to higher income famil ies) and he plans to cut the low income super contribution while opposing tax increases for high income earners super contributions.

    Add to this a move back towards work choices and you have a very clear story of favouring the rich at the expense of the workers, we just have to hope the “workers” can figure this out, seeing as most of them read the Herald sun and think B.olt & McCrann are representing their views I don’t hold out any real hopes.

  4. klewso

    Abbott is going to be kept on a short leash up to the election – like Howard and his pack of non-core promises – that way Labor will get all the viewsmedia (playing their part in the “debate”/farce) scrutiny, negativity and scepticism.

  5. Jimmy

    Klewso – I think that is why Gillard made the election date known so early, over 8 months the pressure will build and build for Abbott to get out more detail on his policies.

    See today the head the Parliamentary budget office said they need the policies sooner rather than later to get them costed.

  6. MJPC

    Agreed Jimmy, the LNP will not be able to keep mum on their vision for too long. I am waiting for the lie that by giving more to the rich they will create jobs for the underprivileged or low paid workers.
    Already we are hearing of the removal of penalty rates, internships not such a bad idea and other such nonsense from the “ruling” class that bought us all the GFC.

  7. Jimmy

    MJPC – Just hope it get’s some half decent ana lysis in the media, but considering B.ol t today was laying the blame for the drugs in sport allegations at Gillard feet I am not very confident.

    According to News Ltd if it is bad and it happened it is Gillard fault – they would blame her for climate change if they beli eved it existed!!

  8. Mike Flanagan

    “Some one killed old Jim Divine
    The poor old fellow was a 109
    But blame on the Gillards boys…..
    I think I’ll go and steal a horse myself…….
    And blame on the Gillards…………..”

  9. Mike Flanagan

    I’ve left out “it” that should proceed “blame” Sorry, as I hoist my Kelly flag.

  10. taylormade

    You will just have to patient Jimmy. People are still coming to terms with the surplus backdown and now the low mining tax has just added to the confusion. Abbott wont bite at anything until both these issues have played out.

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details