Leaders to square off, as IR fight looms

by | April 20, 2022 03:30 | News

Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese will face off for the first time this election when they meet for a leaders’ debate on Wednesday night.

The prime minister and opposition leader will go head-to-head in Brisbane where they will take questions from undecided voters.

It comes as both parties will use day 10 of the election campaign to focus on industrial relations.

The government has announced it would double the penalties courts can impose on construction unions, should it win office.

Penalties for serious offences such as unlawful industrial action, freedom of association or coercion will be increased to $88,000 for an individual and $444,000 for a union.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said the changes to the building and construction industry act would try to stamp out “bullying and intimidation” by the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union..

“Time and again we have seen shocking behaviour from CFMMEU officials,” she said.

“Mr Albanese will hand over this critical industry to the CFMMEU because he is too weak to stand up to them.”

Meanwhile, Labor has upped their attacks on the government on working conditions, arguing the coalition would bring back controversial workplace laws.

Opposition industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke said the government would scrap the better off overall test for workplace agreements.

“Mr Morrison is sharpening his knife to slash your pay and conditions,” Mr Burke said.

“At a time when the price of everything has gone up and your pay has gone backwards, Mr Morrison now wants to cut your pay even further and make your job less secure.”

It comes as both parties have been accused of running negative scare tactics during the second week of the campaign.

Labor has been accused of trying to frighten people by saying the government would move to roll out more pensioners onto cashless debit cards, claims which the prime minister’s pick for health minister, Anne Ruston, has rejected.

Meanwhile, the coalition has gone on the attack by saying household electricity bills would rise under Labor, should the opposition win office.

Both leaders have ruled out doing deals with minor parties and independents to form government, should the May 21 election result in a hung parliament.

The prime minister said a vote for an independent at the ballot box would be “a vote for chaos”.

Treasury will also release the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook later on Wednesday.

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