Gillard attacks false IR story

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Gillard attacks false IR story

Opposition IR spokeswoman Julia Gillard has attacked a front page story in today's Australian newspaper which claims Labor would allow unions to 'inflict pain' on employers so that a workplace umpire would then impose favourable wage settlements.

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Opposition IR spokeswoman Julia Gillard has attacked a front page story in today's Australian newspaper which claims Labor would allow unions to 'inflict pain' on employers so that a workplace umpire would then impose favourable wage settlements.

The story, written by anti-union journalist Brad Norrington, claimed this situation had been confirmed in a letter to business groups from Gillard, but had not been mentioned in Labor's IR policy.

Spectacularly wrong

Gillard today described the story as 'spectacularly wrong'.

'This report is completely inaccurate and untrue,' Gillard said. 'There is no part of Labor's policy that deals with wage settlements. That term is not used. I have never used that term. I have never corresponded with business using that term. This is a term the newspaper is using and pretending is in Labor's policy. It is not.

'Specifically, the report says in the letter I refer to bargaining participants and in the policy I did not. This is completely untrue and my spokesperson yesterday referred [Norrington] to the relevant page and relevant paragraph that uses the term he contends is not there in the policy. The report is completely inaccurate.'

Asked why the report was so inaccurate, Gillard said she had 'no idea'.

'You would need to ask the reporter that,' she said. 'You need to ask the reporter how he can be referred to a page and a paragraph in a policy and then contend that the words that appear in it do not appear in it. That is a question only he can answer.'

ACTU arbitration bid 'rejected'

Gillard said Labor had in fact rejected an ACTU proposal for last resort arbitration. However the policy does contain a mechanism for resolving disputes that are causing 'significant harm' to the economy or the community.

'Every version of industrial relations law this country has ever had has given the industrial umpire power to deal with significantly damaging industrial disputes,' she said. 'Indeed, [Prime Minister John] Howard's laws do today. What Labor is proposing is therefore mainstream industrial relations policy, indeed it is just common sense and to try and construe it any other way is completely inaccurate'.

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