Elliot makes pledge on WorkChoices vote

JUSTINE Elliot yesterday pledged to resign if she wins Richmond and fails to vote in Parliament against Work Choices. Echoing a similar promise last week by Labor deputy leader Julia Gillard, Labor's Richmond MP released a pledge that she would vote against any extension of the Work Choices legislation, and that she would vote to repeal Work Choices if Labor wins government. "If elected, I pledge to vote to restore balance and fairness to the workplace," Ms Elliot said. "I pledge to vote against any further extreme workplace laws. "If I break this commitment, I will immediately resign from Parliament." Ms Elliot challenged all Richmond candidates to give the same undertaking and sign her pledge. Nationals candidate Sue Page dubbed the pledge an "act of desperation". "She"s just running out of ideas to get people to pay attention to industrial relations," Dr Page said. "Why would I sign that, or vote against Work Choices, when Richmond has had the greatest rate of jobs growth in Australia." Dr Page said some polling in Richmond showed voters did not accept industrial relations was a key campaign issue. And she noted that although the pledge idea sounded "very noble", Ms Elliot would have no choice but to resign if she voted against Labor Party policy, because Labor could not tolerate its MPs voting against the party line, unlike the Nationals. Dr Page said Nationals had "crossed the floor" 27 times in Parliament during the 11 years of the Howard government. Dr Page told the Daily News two months ago that she could cross the floor to vote against nuclear power stations. Greens candidate Giovanni Ebono said he would "cheerfully" sign Ms Elliot's pledge. And he offered a pledge of his own. "If elected I will introduce a Private Members Bill to phase out uranium mining within three years, and if I do not I will resign at the next change of Parliament," Mr Ebono said. "I formally challenge all the other Richmond candidates to sign this pledge." During a debate with Workplace Minister Joe Hockey last week, Ms Gillard was unequivocal on whether she would deliver Labor's industrial relations reform in government. "If you'd like me to pledge to resign, to sign a contract in blood, take a polygraph, bet my house on it, give you my mother as a hostage, what-%ever you like," Ms Gillard declared. Ms Elliot was unable to say exactly when Labor's industrial relations%reforms would be introduced into Parliament. "The people of Richmond know where I stand and they know that I will always stand up for working families," she said. Liberty for Democracy candidate Daniel Farmilo said he would not sign Ms Elliot's pledge, but he would be happy to repeal Work Choices or any other regulation that "allows government to pry into the relationship%between workers and employers".



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