Tony Abbott is coming under internal pressure to outline a new industrial relations (IR) policy, including a crackdown on union power and changes to unfair dismissal laws.
Rising Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg, who is a former advisor to John Howard and Alexander Downer, has called on the Opposition Leader to put forward urgent changes to workplace laws to deal with union "militancy" and a slump in productivity.
"Now is the opportunity for the Coalition to go on the front foot and put forward proposals that make unfair dismissal laws less of a burden on small business," Mr Frydenberg said in a newspaper opinion piece.
He also wants more individual flexibility arrangements in the Fair Work Act, and new curbs on union power.
"Standing still is not an option.
In today's challenging economic climate, industrial relations reform is more important than ever and the clock is ticking," he said.
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Despite Mr Frydenberg's push for Mr Abbott to put forward a new IR policy, the Opposition's finance spokesman, Andrew Robb, said it would be "irresponsible" for the Coalition to release all its policies when an election is still so far off.
"Extra time allows us to review, refine and enhance our menu of options, which includes several hundred individual policy initiatives," Mr Robb wrote in a newspaper opinion piece, adding the Coalition had a "comprehensive suite of policies" ready to go.
Mr Abbott has previously said the Coalition's workplace relations policy would make individual flexibility arrangements "more workable", but has sought to reassure voters any changes will not be ideologically driven.
The Coalition has been guarded when questioned about its workplace relations policy, wary of the strong anti-WorkChoices campaign run by Labor and the unions at the 2007 and 2010 elections.
It has not yet released the details of its full policy, instead saying it will be made public before the election later this year.
'Real leadership' Acting Workplace Relations Minister Kate Ellis says Mr Frydenberg's comments show the Coalition's policy will be based on "job cuts, slashing entitlements, and around making workers easier to sack".
"We don't have to just look back to the Howard government for evidence of this.
We can look to the current state Liberal governments," Ms Ellis told ABC News.
"We know that Tony Abbott is under pressure to attack basic workplace entitlements - entitlements like penalty rates, like the right to a family-friendly roster - (and) to remove unfair dismissal protections.
"And we've seen that not just in this (opinion) piece today, but we've seen it previously from members of Tony Abbott's own team - like Jamie Briggs, like Arthur Sinodinos - who have all been promoted." Several Coalition MPs, including Mr Briggs - a shadow parliamentary secretary - have previously expressed a need to wind back some of Labor's workplace relations policies, although they are quick to accept that some aspects of the WorkChoices laws went too far.
Mr Frydenberg has this morning declined requests for an interview.
Mr Downer has praised Mr Frydenberg for showing "real leadership" by raising problems with the current industrial relations framework, and the need to improve Australia's productivity levels.
"Industrial relations reforms are a critical part of doing that, and he's highlighted that point," Mr Downer told ABC radio's The World Today program.
"I think it's important that Liberals come out and show leadership on this issue." Mr Downer says individual workplace contracts should not be ruled out as an option, so long as there is a proper no disadvantage test in place.
A number of business groups are pushing the Coalition to put forward changes to increase workplace flexibility and increase flexibility, arguing the current Fair Work laws are "stifling business investment".
"Many of the major industrial disputes over the past few years have centred around union claims which would not have been permitted under the previous laws," the Australian Industry Group said in a response to the Government's review of the Fair Work Act last year.