The Federal Government is hoping to get back on the front foot this week by returning to a traditional area of strength for Labor - workplace relations.
It wants to increase the number of employees who can ask for flexible working arrangements, but bosses will still be able to say no to unreasonable requests.
It is the second part of the Government's response to the Fair Work review, but it also gives Labor an opportunity to try to flush out the Coalition's industrial relations policy.
The right to ask for flexible hours or other working arrangements currently only applies to some parents, as one of the Government's 10 national employment standards.
Now the Government is planning to specifically include that right in the Fair Work Act, and significantly broaden its scope.
It wants all workers who have care responsibilities, those over 55, workers with a disability, or anyone who is experiencing domestic violence to also be able to ask for more flexibility from their employers.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said one of the key aspects would be helping new parents return to flexible work environments.
"They will be able to request flexible and part-time work and their employer will have to respond to that request," she said.
"We already have, as part of our 10 national employment standards, a right to request.
"This is an extension to that right that Labor introduced." Unions and the Greens also want those workers to be able to appeal if their request is knocked back, and on that count they have some support.
Professor Barbara Pocock is the director of the Centre for Work and Life at the University of South Australia.
She says it is important to increase the scope of the laws and to give employers more information about when it is and is not reasonable to say no, but that alone is not enough.
"Laws need to be enforced if they are to be effective," she said.
"Why would we expect a law to have no effective enforcement? "Like [if you are] getting underpaid, you can go to the Fair Work Act, you could follow that up, you can get some redress.
"These flexibility rights are critically important to a lot of workers now and they need to have the same first class enforcement machinery as any other aspect of Labor law." The Government is publicly targeting the protections at working women.
But Professor Pocock says male employees should not be forgotten.
"The research shows that it is men, and men and women in male-dominated workplaces who are more likely to want flexibility but [do] not feel confident about asking," she said.
"We need active fathers and male carers just as much as we need women in the labour market." Pressuring the Opposition After a difficult start to the year, the Government is hoping that switching the focus to the workplace will put the Opposition under some pressure.
So far the Coalition has responded cautiously, saying it supports added flexibility but needs to see much more detail.
The Government's motivation is clear to Peter Strong from the Council of Small Business.
"I think the Government is looking to wedge the Opposition around workplace relations, and I'll leave the politicians to do that," he said.
The Government is also expected to give more protection to workers who are subject to roster and shift changes at very late notice, but has provided little detail on that plan.
The Greens say the Federal Government does not go far enough with its proposals.
Adam Bandt says the Greens want laws strengthened so the industrial umpire can be brought in if a request for flexibility is refused.
"The Greens are not interested in helping Labor use working parents and carers as a re-election prop," he said.
"If the Government was serious about giving people better work-life balance, they'd get behind the Greens bill to give parents and carers an enforceable right to flexible working arrangements." The Prime Minister has returned to Australia from New Zealand, where she held annual leaders talks with her counterpart John Key.
During the talks, the two leaders announced a deal which will see New Zealand take 150 refugees from Australia each year.
They also announced plans to empower consumer watchdogs to crack down on exorbitant mobile phone and data roaming charges.