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New Liberal leader Tony Abbott’s promise to bring back WorkChoices under a different name will mean the jobs of working Australians will be less secure if the Coalition is elected.

Unemployment is still rising as the economy recovers from the GFC and working Australians cannot afford the loss of job protections which occurred under WorkChoices.

Yesterday the new Liberal leader indicated he would bring back WorkChoices under a different name. Mr Abbott said:

“The phrase WorkChoices is dead. No one will mention it again. But we do need to have a free and flexible economy.”

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“This is a barely disguised promise by Mr Abbott to do the bidding of big business and bring back the Liberals’ hardline industrial relations laws.

“It is code for a return to WorkChoices.

“It would be terribly unfair for working Australians to face even greater job insecurity when so many have lost their jobs or faced cuts to their hours of work through the GFC.

“There are almost 200,000 more Australians out of for work than there were a year ago and more than 220,000 people who want to work more hours.

“The Global Financial Crisis was brought about by greedy and reckless business executives and a lack of government regulation.

“Mr Abbott however, has signalled that he wants more freedom and flexibility for businesses.

“Working Australians know that ‘flexibility’ for businesses means that under the Liberals there would less government regulation and another attack on workers’ rights.

“By stating that no one will mention WorkChoices again, Mr Abbott is also indicating the Liberals will again attempt to mislead the Australian public over the truth of their hardline IR policies.”

The Liberals spent $121 million on WorkChoices advertising in the lead up to the 2007 election.

Under WorkChoices more than three million Australians lost protection from unfair dismissal and many young and vulnerable workers saw their wages and conditions fall through the use by business of unfair AWA individual contracts.