Gillard welcomes more third parties in election debate

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Gillard welcomes more third parties in election debate

Labor Deputy Leader, Julia Gillard, expects a number of 'third parties' to get involved in this year's election —not just the ACTU.

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Labor Deputy Leader, Julia Gillard, expects a number of 'third parties' to get involved in this year's election — not just the ACTU.

Speaking on the ABC's Insiders program, Gillard said the business community was planning to run advertising, and as a former health spokeswoman she expected to see 'many health interest groups in the run-up to the election making their point pretty forcefully'.

'Last hurrah for the union movement?'

Presenter, Barrie Cassidy, put it to Gillard that this election is 'the last hurrah for the union movement', and asked if that explained why the Government is making such an issue of the ACTU's involvement.

'I think the Government is making such an issue of it because they are out of touch with the real issues Australian families are talking about, the kind of financial pressure they are under,' Gillard said. 'I mean we've got a story in today's newspapers about increasing numbers of Australians needing to access their superannuation because of hardship, and it's those sorts of things that are really on the minds of working families.

'The Government is playing politics with this, and you'd expect that, they're clever politicians, they think it's a good trick in the lead-up to the election.'

A lot at stake

Cassidy: 'But you have to see that there is a lot at stake for the union movement this time around.'

Gillard: 'Look, certainly there is a lot as stake for anybody who believes in fairness in the workplace. Howard's laws have gone too far, they have taken us to an extreme, we've never been in that extreme before.

'And whether it's working people, whether it's individual employers who have said to me that they are concerned about these laws, there are a lot of people who want to make their voices heard in the run-up to an election on Howard's decision to take this country to a real extreme of industrial relations.'

'Mangled football analogy'

Cassidy: 'You mentioned there's some business groups will be advertising this time around. You said recently that if they want to get into the ring and get into the fight they'll get hurt. Does that threat still sit there?'

Gillard: 'I managed to mangle my way through a football analogy making those statements. I'm now leaving all of that to Eddie Maguire because I am absolutely no good at it, clearly.

'Look, I'd never had a difficulty with business being in the policy debate and so they should. Business voices will be heard on industrial relations, they'll be heard on climate change, they'll be heard on infrastructure issues, a whole range of issues and that's absolutely appropriate.'

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