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No AWAs for politicians?

By GuruJ - 1 March 2006 7

Bob McMullan was in fine form last night, pointing out the wonderful irony in the fact that the only people still allowed to have common wage rates, terms and conditions after the Workplace Relations Act was passed by the Government are … politicians:

… we are saying that it is okay for every member of parliament — and in relation to this bill every minister in this government — to have common terms and conditions to their employment so they all get paid exactly the same and get exactly the same conditions in every way but that it is not okay for ordinary Australian workers to have that. They have to have individual contracts, which they negotiate with their employers.

I would like to suggest that maybe the ministers who thought that was such a terrific policy when they all sat around the cabinet table and voted for it should have to front up to the Prime Minister and ask, ‘Who’s prepared to do the most for the least?’ We all know they do not want to do that, because we all know that the member for Wentworth [ed: Malcolm Turnbull] would outbid them all — he would probably pay to do the job, and not everybody could afford to compete with him. But that is what is being asked of every other Australian worker.

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No AWAs for politicians?
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Thumper 8:52 am 03 Mar 06


you seriously didn’t want to work for her! She was/ is one hard nose, walk over the top of anyone woman. Intelligent and quick witted, I’ll grant you, but not one to take no for an answer. As an adviser you would have been simply telling her what she wanted to know, as opposed to what was happening.

I met her numerous times when working at Environment. A number of my friends still work for Environment and they will say exactly the same thing.

Big Al 7:41 am 03 Mar 06

The ramblings of Bob the Knob asise, I wonder how committed the coalition really is to AWA’s. A couple of years ago I was offered a job working as an advisor for Sharman Stone when she was Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment (back when Senator Hill had the environment gig). It was OK work with some stupid hours so I said that I’d take it on but that I wanted an AWA. I was told that could be difficult and that inquiries would have to be made (which I understood as someone would have to check with the PM). the response – AWAs were a no go for parlimentary staffers – there was an award and that was it. I didn’t take the job in the end.

GuruJ 2:06 pm 01 Mar 06

If you read the whole speech, you’ll see that Bob is being tongue-in-cheek about this issue.

He recognises the benefit of central negotiation in certain cases — politicians among them — but there are other classes of workers like police & firefighters who may also be forced onto AWAs.

Bob’s argument is that there should be sensible exemptions from individual contracts where there are clear benefits in cultivating a team ethos rather than in a “dog eat dog” one-upmanship.

johnboy 1:04 pm 01 Mar 06

the pay was about right for that job, the person was the problem.

and he wasn’t an MP.

But see what great deals you can get when you negotiate for yourself? (tongue in cheek)

Thumper 1:03 pm 01 Mar 06


Sorry, i’m all for the collective bargaining power of the workers.

in this day and age I think it’s too easy for individuals to get screwed over by employers. And there are a lot of people out there who will do it tough if they are forced to sign an AWA.

Interesting, I wonder how many of the ALP members are on AWAs? it would seem to be slightly hypercritical.

yakz 12:27 pm 01 Mar 06

ah but JB, Ministers could be on performance indicators therefore increasing the remmuneration for the better performers as well as paying more for those deemed to have higher or more responsibility even at cabinet “rank”. I’m sure that Mr Howard or his office would be able to negoitiate as suitable package. The AWB fellow got $1 million for less than a years work surely Minister’s can do better.

johnboy 11:35 am 01 Mar 06

Sad that Bob hasn’t grasped that MP’s have a different sort of job.

The whole point of workplace flexibility is matching terms and conditions to the appropriate workplace.

Jobs involving formal rank aren’t suitable for individual agreements. Many jobs in the general workplace however can be.

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