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The Department of Workplace Relations has been fined $30,000 for breaching employee rights. Justice Catherine Branson found that the department was guilty of denying personal leave to employees who wanted to attend an anti-Work Choices rally.

The fine will go to the Community and Public Sector Union, which plans to contribute the amount to the ACTU’s anti-Work Choices television campaign, running against the $121 million government advertisements. It is the second time a government department has been penalised for breaking its workplace laws.

A spokeswoman for Joe Hockey, the Minister for Workplace Relations, refused to comment, saying it was "a matter for DEWR".

Stephen Jones, national secretary for the Community and Public Sector Union, said that since the offence, DEWR was still "going to extraordinary lengths to prevent the union talking to its employees", refusing him access.

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