Bosses not 'dying in a ditch' for WorkChoices, says  		Beazley

News

Bosses not 'dying in a ditch' for WorkChoices, says Beazley

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley has rejected employer criticism of his IR policies, saying that no business group was asking him to retain WorkChoices in its entirety if he wins the next Federal election.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley has rejected employer criticism of his IR policies, saying that no business group was asking him to retain WorkChoices in its entirety if he wins the next Federal election.

In fact he described WorkChoices as 'an orphan' created by Prime Minister John Howard without any request from business leaders. Beazley told the Lateline program on ABC TV that while employers were not asking for WorkChoices they did want to be consulted on Labor's IR plans.

It was revealed earlier this week that State and Regional heads of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) had written to Beazley criticising his plans to abolish AWAs and water down unfair dismissal laws.

Disagrees

But Beazley told Lateline he disagreed with ACCI and pointed out that its Chief Executive, Peter Hendy, was a long-time Liberal Party activist and Chief of Staff for former Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith.

'Every business leader I have spoken to has said: "We are not responsible for these laws, this is not something we suggested to John Howard",' Beazley said. 'They don't feel themselves under any great sense of obligation to see what John Howard has put in place persists.

'Not one of them has said to me that John Howard has come up with a really good idea, and you've got to stick with every jot and tittle of it.'

Boost productivity

Beazley said Labor's emphasis on collective bargaining would be good for ordinary Australians and therefore good for business, because it would boost productivity.

He predicted the Government would deliver 'the mother of all handouts' in next year's budget to win favour ahead of an election campaign that would focus on nation-building and reward for effort. And he said Labor was open to the idea of delivering tax relief in the form of extra superannuation benefits - following the approach of former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating.

Labor's IR spokesman Stephen Smith also played down the ACCI letter, saying ACCI had contacted him before sending it.

Ongoing dialogue

'They said we're proposing to send this letter to Beazley, but please understand we regard this letter as part of our ongoing consultation and dialogue,' he said.

Smith said there is an array of issues and detail which Labor needed to work through with the business community.

'We regard it as a necessary thing,' he said. 'I think it happens to be in our national interest that Labor - the alternative government - has a constructive and good dialogue with business.'

Related

Confusion as small business calls for 'leniency' on WorkChoices

Small business shuns WorkChoices

Most employers wary of new IR system, survey shows

  

 

Post details