A majority of Australians believe a Liberal Government led by Tony Abbott will bring back WorkChoices, a new national opinion poll released today shows.

The poll of 2,099 working Australians finds fewer than one fifth (18%) believe it unlikely the Liberals will reintroduce WorkChoices.

And more than half (53%) believe it is likely or very likely Tony Abbott’s Liberals would reintroduce WorkChoices if they were elected, even if it was under a different name.

The poll finds that the top three concerns working Australians have about the Liberals’ expected return to WorkChoices if elected are:

1.   The potential cuts to wages and conditions

2.   Less protection from unfair dismissal

3.   Employers having more power to dictate working hours

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the results revealed people had deep suspicions about Tony Abbott’s support for hardline industrial relations policies and WorkChoices.

“Australians remember the damage caused by WorkChoices under the former Liberal Government in which Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey were senior Ministers,” Ms Burrow said.

“Under WorkChoices AWA individual contracts were used by employers to cut the take home pay and job conditions of thousands of Australians.

“Many young people, women and other vulnerable workers were sacked unfairly.

“And the pay of more than a million Australians declined in real terms under the Liberals’ changes to award wages.

“Employers had the power to dictate working hours and this put working families under extra pressure.

The ACTU poll conducted by Auspoll also found:

  • 88% of working Australians say it is important that wages keep pace with family costs of living.
  • 82% are concerned about their personal job security.
  • “The vast majority of working Australians are worried about maintaining their incomes and keeping their jobs after the financial crisis and this underlines their concern about the Liberals bringing back WorkChoices,” said Ms Burrow.