The ACTU is backing a call by Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten for a pre-election debate between the major parties on industrial relations policy.

Minister Shorten today called on his Coalition counterpart Eric Abetz to come out of hiding and commit to a debate on workplace policy.

“Working people absolutely deserve to hear a full debate between the minister and shadow minister on their plans for industrial relations laws,” said ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver.

“The Coalition has announced a post-election inquiry into the Fair Work Act but won’t release the terms.

“Meanwhile, business is campaigning hard for a raft of radical changes including cutting penalty rates, greater use of individual contracts and even cuts to the minimum wage.

“The Coalition appears not to want to talk in detail about its industrial relations policy, but these matters are too important to leave to guess work.

“Joe Hockey has said just today that amending industrial relations laws is part of the Coalition’s economic plan, but how?

“I urge Senator Abetz to take up Minister Shorten’s offer and take part in a robust debate to explain his vision for workplace relations in Australia. Voters deserve it.”