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Wage Freeze Bill: Debate suspended after strong opposition in Lower House

LAST night debate began in parliament on the government’s controversial Bill to freeze public sector wages and hand decisions around future wages and agreements over to the treasurer.

 

The Hodgman government seemed to believe opposition parties would roll over and accept the inevitability of the legislation passing the lower house but instead faced a united, well researched and passionate defence of workers rights from both Labor and Greens members. Despite this legislation having a significant effect on the lives of thousands of Tasmanians most government members couldn’t be bothers to sit in the house to listen to the debate.

 

The contributions by the Treasurer and Premier failed to explain why they had not told public sector workers before the election of their intention to freeze wages, ironically they continued with their mantra about ‘keeping their promises’.

 

Opposition leader Bryan Green showed how the government were using the money saved through the wage freeze to pay for the $400m of pork barrelling they rolled out during the election campaign.

 

Deputy Labor leader Michelle O’Byrne took the parliament through the legislation so that everyone listening were clear the legislation is not about a wage freeze but is about dismantling Tasmania’s IR system so they government doesn’t need to negotiate with its workers ever again.

 

There was one bizarre moment when it became clear that the Treasurer was reading from a different 2nd reading speech to the one that had been provided to the parliament. Seems he made a few last minute changes in an effort to put some gloss on a very bad Bill.

 

Debate was suspended just after 11pm and will resume in 2 weeks. It will then be the turn of the upper house to consider this dud Bill.

Sign the petition calling on Legislative Councilors to reject the Crown Employees (Salaries) Bill 2014 here.

 

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