Branch Secretary's 2016 Federal Election Message

Wednesday 29 Jun 2016

Dear Members and Supporters,

The Federal Election is almost upon us. If you need information on how and where to vote visit the AEC website here.

The HSUWA is NOT affiliated with any political party, however the policies and practices of the various parties have a direct effect on all members either at your workplace or in your homes. The Union’s Objects under our Rules include to “… protect and further the interests of its members …” and “… to acquire any rights and privileges which the Union may regard as necessary and to preserve for members any rights and privileges currently held.”

Our capacity to do this is impacted by the industrial relations system that we work within. Health, aged care, community services and many other government policies impact directly on members working in those industries. To this end we provide the following information for members to consider in deciding how you cast your vote on July 2nd.

For a reasonably independent and comprehensive assessment of health policy, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association has issued an excellent easy to read scorecard for the Coalition, Labor and the Greens which you can read here.

We have chosen the Age Well campaign for comment on aged care issues. The HSU nationally is a supporter of this campaign along with an alliance of organisations (both Employer and Union) in the aged care sector who recognise the urgent need for reform. You can visit their website here.

On the impact of government policies on workers and the industrial relations laws and system we commend the Australian Unions website found here. Based on our daily lived experience, federal workplace laws are unbalanced and far too much in the employer’s favour. It is too difficult for employees to bargain with employers, it is a key factor in the lowest wages growth on record. This is made worse by slow and bureaucratic regulation. This triumph of form over content was shown up in an EBA signed off by Fair Work which would have seen retail workers being paid less than the Award. Penalty rates need to be maintained, the HSUWA supports the view that penalty rates should be protected by law.

Who has the best industrial relations policies? The Greens and Labor have both released detailed industrial relations policy that can be found on their respective websites. For the Greens see here and Labor here. According to Employment Minister Michaelia Cash the Coalition will announce before the election their industrial relations policies which may well include a return to a form of individual workplace agreements. Wages growth and penalty rates would both suffer with individual agreements. As of 28 June the Coalition has still not released their policy.

On industrial relations it is not surprising for the union to say that we put the Liberals last when it comes to worker friendly policies.

Your vote on Saturday really does matter and we hope this information assists you in deciding where it goes.

Yours in Union,
Dan Hill

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