Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Is there a message in there somewhere?

Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but separate articles in Oz newspapers make for an interesting analysis and may be an indication of how things might play out in an election year in Australia.

On the one hand the SMH reveals that AWA's have effectively stripped away the rights of workers despite the Government declaring and asserting that the IR Work Choice laws would not:

"Secret figures reveal that 45 per cent of Australian workplace agreements have stripped away all of the award conditions that the Federal Government promised would be "protected by law" under Work Choices.

The statistics, which the Government has been refusing to release for months, also show a third of the individual employment contracts lodged during the first six months of Work Choices provided no wage rises during the life of the agreements.

They show staff of the Office of the Employment Advocate believed 27.8 per cent of the agreements they examined might have broken the law by undercutting one of the legislated minimum employment entitlements.

Conditions were stripped from the vast majority of the agreements examined, and these included shift loadings (removed in 76 per cent of the agreements), annual leave loading (59 per cent), incentive payments and bonuses (70 per cent), and declared public holidays (22.5 per cent)."

It is hard to know whether there is a real connection to what the The Australian reports, under the headline "Sun keeps rising for Rudd" but it certainly makes for interesting speculation:

"Kevin Rudd's popularity has survived the furore over plans for a false Anzac Day dawn service, allowing him to regain the biggest lead of any opposition leader over John Howard during his 11 years in power.

Labor remains in a clear election-winning position as it returns to near-record levels of support campaigning on climate change and industrial relations.

According to the latest Newspoll, the ALP's primary vote was steady last weekend at 50 per cent, while the Coalition's primary vote fell from 38 per cent before Easter to 35 per cent.

On the question of who would make a better prime minister, Mr Rudd's support was unchanged on 48 per cent, but Mr Howard's fell two points to 36 per cent to give Mr Rudd a 12-point lead - the best for any opposition leader over Mr Howard."

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