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Workplace laws

By David Leyonhjelm - posted Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Paying workers the same higher rate has not helped wages growth.  Following an initial bump with the introduction of modern awards, wages growth has been poor.  Forcing employers to treat all workers the same is a recipe for apathetic workplaces and stagnant wages. A pay rise can be an incentive and a reward, but not if your employer also has to give it to your workplace’s resident slacker.

Thriving workplaces also need owners and managers who are willing to hire without being forced to pay new starters more than they are worth and fearing that, once hired, they can never be fired. 

Official unemployment, a decade on since the Global Financial Crisis, remains at 5.4 per cent, well above the rate that prevailed when small businesses were exempt from unfair dismissal laws under Howard.  More than 700,000 Australians are in unemployment queues while small‑business owners struggle to do everything themselves.


The Government says the current Senate wouldn’t support attempts to wind back unwarranted privileges for unions.  It may say the same about attempts to abolish or reduce award wages, or to exempt small businesses from unfair dismissal laws. 

But such reforms will only happen if the Coalition campaigns on them and Australians have a chance to vote for a Senate that will support them.  Reforms like these are sorely needed.

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This article was first published in the Australian Financial Review.

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David Leyonhjelm is the Liberal Democrat Senator for NSW.

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