1998 federal election – ir policies

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1998 federal election – ir policies

With tax reform dominating the election limelight, the industrial policies of the major parties have not gained a great deal of publicity.

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With tax reform dominating the election limelight, the industrial policies of the major parties have not gained a great deal of publicity. The following table provides a comparison of some of the important features of each of the major party’s plans for IR.

Coalition

ALP

Policy structured around theme of ‘more jobs, better pay’ and argues that the Government’s IR system has delivered both.

Policy structured around theme of ‘a better plan for industrial relations’ and argues that the ‘balance’ needs to be restored.

Agreements

Retain Employment Advocate; simpler agreement making process; strengthen freedom of association; simplified records and other paper work for SMEs.

Abolish Employment Advocate; remove AWAs; apply industrial legislation to labour only contractors

Unfair Dismissals

Six months probation and exemption of small employers (up to 15 e’ees) from unfair dismissals; discourage frivolous claims, raise application fee to $100.

Where company liquidated, allow unfair dismissal claims against related companies.

Awards

Further simplify awards, encourage agreement making, remove superannuation and company specific provisions from awards.

Restore primacy of awards by removing s89A and allowing AIRC to make comprehensive awards; increase AIRC powers and give emphasis to dispute resolution powers.

Industrial Action

Retain trade practices legislation; improve enforceability of orders and access to injunctions.

Remove trade practices legislation and require boycotts (and other industrial action) to go to the AIRC at first instance.

Unions

Unions to serve members, not to be industrial police.

‘Restore the balance’ by improving union ability to enter premises; give primacy to collective agreements; union right of appearance for ratifying agreements.

Employee Entitlements

Work with States to improve security of employee entitlements on liquidation.

Employers to insure against liquidation loss of employee entitlements; allow damages against related corporations.

Junior Rates

Retain junior rates of pay.

Subject to AIRC inquiry, abolish junior rates of pay.

Other Issues

Encourage other dispute resolution methods

eg.mediation; require ballot before protected action and greater notice of protected action.

Inquiry into distribution of working hours.

 

Democrats’ IR Policy

The Democrats’ policy is structured around three themes, namely ‘job security’, ‘productivity’ and ‘a fair go’. The policy argues that the big parties only look after the big interests.

 
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