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Law

Coalition would turn back right to disconnect, voters disagree

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

The government’s ”right to disconnect” legislation has been met with mixed feelings. According to the polls, most people are in favour. However, going against voter sentiments, the opposition party would overturn the decision if given the chance.

The legislative changes come into effect on 26 August, giving employees a legal leg to stand on if they decide not to reply to work communications outside of working hours.

Previously, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton displayed his opinions on the amendments, claiming the decision could have negative effects on the Australian economy.

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“If you think it’s OK to outsource your industrial relations or your economic policy to the Greens, which is what the Prime Minister is doing, then we are going to see a continuation of the productivity problem in our country,” he said.

Since then, Dutton has gone further and revealed that if elected into power, he would overturn the laws. Asked if he would promise to repeal the changes at the next federal election, he replied: “Yes, we will.”

“We will take a policy that’s in our country’s best interests that provides support to workers but doesn’t make it impossible, particularly for small businesses, to employ staff,” Dutton said.

However, the stance taken by the LNP may not be in the interest of their voter base. The Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work conducted a survey on the subject of the “right to disconnect” legislation.

The results found that 76 per cent of Aussies support the right to disconnect, 11 per cent oppose it, and 13 per cent don’t know.

“The opposition appears determined to remain out of touch with its own voters by pledging to roll back the very policies they support,” said Dr Fiona Macdonald, policy director of industrial and social at the Centre for Future Work.

“The Coalition joined the business lobby in claiming the right to disconnect would cause the sky to fall in. They were wrong. Instead, this survey finds most Australians across the political spectrum back the legislation to stop work encroaching into their personal and family time.”

The highest number of supports are Greens (90 per cent) and Labor (83 per cent) voters. Interestingly, 66 per cent of Liberal voters support the right to disconnect, highlighting a disconnect between Dutton’s opinions and his voters. Meanwhile, just 18 per cent oppose.

In fact, just about every political voter base is in favour, with 77 per cent of independent/other voters in favour and 61 per cent of One Nation supporters.

Further breakdowns of the data show that women (81 per cent) are more in favour of the changes than men (71 per cent). As far as age groups go, those aged 18 to 29 (87 per cent) and 30 to 39 (87 per cent) were most in favour. Following were 50 to 59 (77 per cent), 40 to 49 (75 per cent), and 60 plus (62 per cent).

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.