Collins in penalty rate push

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 26 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

FEDERAL minister Julie Collins has taken her campaign to the doorstep of Liberal Senator Eric Abetz's office in an effort to highlight the rights of shift workers.

Ms Collins has taken her campaign into enemy territory, conducting her media doorstop outside the Opposition workplace relations spokesman's Hobart office.

She called on the Coalition to rule out changes to penalty rates and accused Senator Abetz of leaving the door open for a return to Work Choices-style policy.

"Disability workers, aged-care workers, hospitality workers, hairdressers, workers who are out there ... day in day out doing these unsociable hours and getting penalty rates have got a right to know what the Liberal Party will do," Ms Collins said.

"We saw Work Choices. We know what the Liberal Party's capable of."

There was no sign of the Tasmanian Senator, who was campaigning in South Australia today, with Ms Collins suggesting he'd been silenced.

"I certainly am hoping that Senator Abetz comes out of hiding," she said.

"I'm hoping that he comes out and that he's honest with workers."

In a statement, Senator Abetz said the Coalition had been up-front by pledging the Fair Work Commission would continue to determine awards.

He accused the ALP of running a scare campaign.

"The complete desperation by the Labor campaign was highlighted today when Labor candidates were reduced to holding a demonstration to try to run another dishonest campaign on penalty rates," he said.

The Senator challenged Labor to release its workplace policy after the Coalition's was released in May.

Liberal Party officials dismissed any suggestion Senator Abetz had been hushed up, saying he'd conducted up to five interviews most days of the campaign.

Ms Collins says Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Senator Abetz have used different words during the campaign to those in the Coalition policy.

The newly promoted cabinet minister faces a tough battle to hang on to her seat of Franklin, according to polling published over the weekend.

Labor holds Franklin by 10.8 per cent but a ReachTEL poll published in the Mercury showed Liberal candidate Bernadette Black opening up a 9 per cent lead over Ms Collins.

The poll suggested Labor could lose all four of its Tasmanian seats.

"We're fighters in the Labor Party," Ms Collins said.

"We'll keep fighting."


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