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Fed: Bill reflects mandate to get rid of Work Choices: Gillard

12 Mar 2009 1:28 PM

CANBERRA, March 12 AAP - Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard has rejected claims by the opposition and some business groups that the government has exceeded its election policy in its Fair Work bill.

The government had consulted widely with business and other groups in developing the bill which is now before the Senate.

"The bill ... represents the mandate we have from the Australian people to get rid of Work Choices," Ms Gillard told reporters on Thursday.

Talks will continue with the Greens and the two independent senators before the government introduces its own amendments next week, she said.

The Greens, independent senator Nick Xenophon and Family First senator Steve Fielding had always been opposed to the previous government's Work Choices policy.

"That means that in having a discussion we are broadly coming off the same page, which is that they know Work Choices was bad for working people and they believe there should be a fairer system that replaces it," Ms Gillard said.

"In that context, we will continue to keep talking."

Meanwhile, opposition workplace relations spokesman Michael Keenan told AAP he had contacted Ms Gillard's office on Thursday to offer to have talks on the coalition's proposed amendments.