Business

Labor's new reforms fail the public sector: Stone

THE Fair Work Amendment introduced into the Federal House of Representatives this week probably offers better politics for the Labor Party than protection for public servants in Queensland.

It paints a handy picture for the Labor Party: while the LNP is cutting jobs, the ALP is trying to protect workers.  But the unfortunate truth is that most public sector workers will be no better off as a result of this bill.

The amendment only offers protection in cases where the work of the public service is being outsourced.  If a former public servant finds that within three months of being pushed out of the public service they are doing exactly the same work in the private sector (i.e. their part of the public service has effectively been privatised), they will be entitled to the same pay and conditions as they enjoyed while performing that work in the public sector.

There is no doubt that we will see plenty of such outsourcing to the private sector.  The Queensland Government has already made some specific announcements: the State Reporting Bureau is to be outsourced, as is some of the forensic science work done at the John Tonge Centre, and the Government's airwing assets may also soon be shuffled off to the private sector.

And the Government has specifically legislated to remove the protections against outsourcing from awards and enterprise bargaining agreements - a sure indication of their plans for the future.

But most of the many thousands of public sector workers being shown the door are not being outsourced.  They are simply being sacked, in clear violation of an election commitment.

For them, this amendment offers nothing.

They will pack up their desks and head for the door, unsure about their future, worried for their families, saddened to part with friends and colleagues, with ceaseless spin and deception making an already difficult situation that much harder.

They'll be told that their departure is voluntary, but if they had chosen to be redeployed and were unsuccessful after four months (a real risk given that the budget made clear that there will be 10 600 redundancies), they would have been retrenched with a smaller payout.  Some choice.

They'll recall the LNP's oft-stated commitment to front line services, even though some of them are nurses and doctors.

They'll hear implausible exaggerations about Queensland's financial position rolled out as justification for their dismissal.  They may well wonder how they unwittingly came to settle in Spain.

They may also wonder how we cannot afford their salaries while we can afford to forego $211 million over the forward estimates freezing car registration on some large vehicles (p.133), over $90 million per year abolishing the waste levy (p.128), $430 million over the forward estimates by raising the payroll tax threshold (p.138), and $917 million over the forward estimates by reintroducing concessional stamp duty (p.138).

They could be puzzled that, at the same time as we strangle the State's income, we can manage to splash $92 million on an $80 non-means tested handout to every household with a water connection (p.41), and $63 million on compensation for electricity retailers to cover lost revenue from a freeze on the standard residential electricity tariff (p.41).

Strange priorities for Spain, no?

I know, I know.  These measures are all in fulfillment of election promises.

But permanent public servants were also promised that they would not be forced out of their jobs and the Queensland community was promised that it would not have to suffer cuts to front line services.

So don't expect those who have lost their livelihoods to take much comfort in the knowledge that these rather more serious commitments have been sacrificed to pay for opportunistic pandering to the fiction that we are suffering a cost of living crisis.

Adam Stone is Lead Senate Candidate for the Queensland Greens.

Topics:  fair work, greens, opinion, public service



Bluesfest royalty to drop by

GUITAR LEGEND: Santana at Byron Bay Blues Festival 2013.

Legends to grace Bluesfest' stage in 2017.

On Wright track to crown

TOP LEAD: With four wins on the board, Tyler Wright  will be hard to stop and is a sure bet to claim this year's WSL World Women's title.

HAS Tyler Wright already stitched up this year's world title?

Call for more Tweed special ed places

SUPPORT: Jacob Lorenzo, 18, from Tweed Heads South struggled to find a special education position when he moved up to the Tweed.

More special ed places needed in Tweed.

Local Partners

The Dixie Chicks to headline 2017 CMC Rocks festival

US country music group The Dixie Chicks.

ORGANISERS move festival dates to lock in US country music stars.

What's on the big screen this week

Denzel Washington in a scene from the movie The Magnificent Seven.

DENZEL Washington returns in a shoot-em-up Western.

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E3 - Which picnic date is better?

The Bachelorette Georgia Love, centre, with her top 11 bachelors.

Lee and Matt get some one-on-one time with Georgia.

Callea channels legend for Glitter

WHAM: Anthony Callea plays the Glitter Festival on October 8 at The Arts Centre Gold Coast.

Anthony Callea brings the songs of a star to the glitter strip.

Homer Simpson thanks Australia during Opera House visit

Homer Simpson visits the Sydney Opera House.

ANIMATION favourite gets attacked by seagulls in viral video.

Channel 9 orders second season of Doctor Doctor

Rodger Corser stars in the TV series Doctor Doctor.

RURAL medical drama finds a loyal following.

Penthouse in beach paradise

Take in the beach front views from the balcony of 701/ 4-10 Douglas Street, Kirra.

This beachfront penthouse is the perfect place to enjoy the views.

Casuarina sets the benchmark in Tweed market

Our property market is as strong as it's been since the crisis

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction