Howard can’t be trusted on IR says Labor, unions


Howard can’t be trusted on IR says Labor, unions

Prime Minister John Howard can’t be believed or trusted on industrial relations policies, according to the ALP.


Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Prime Minister John Howard can’t be believed or trusted on industrial relations policies, according to the ALP.

Labor’s Shadow Spokesman on Industrial Relations, Stephen Smith, said that overnight Howard had tried to downplay comments from Senate Leader Nick Minchin that the Government had ‘unfinished business’ regarding IR changes in Australia.

Minchin said the abolition of awards and the AIRC were two possible changes left for the Government to make after the next election.

Smith said Howard had tried to reassure the Australian community that there will be no more changes.

‘The Prime Minister can’t be believed or trusted on industrial relations,’ Smith said.

Consider record

He said a look at Howard’s record would show that.

‘At the launch of the Liberal Party’s industrial relations policy on 28 September 2004, the Prime Minister was asked about a single national system, one of the things that he now claims as a great change of his proposals in this Parliament,’ Smith said.

‘The Prime Minister [then] says “we’re not setting ourselves that goal regardless”.

‘He was also asked about the 20 allowable matters and whether he’s considering reducing the allowable matters. The Prime Minister says “we don’t at this stage… have proposals to do so because they’ve worked pretty well”.

‘So in the run up to last election, the Prime Minister tells the Australian public not to expect changes along those lines.

‘And what do we see when the Government gets all power under the sun when they get control of the Senate? We see the Government making extreme and unfair changes, which include changes to a so called national system and the allowable matters.’

Support for changes from ACCI

The ACTU also pointed to more IR changes to come when raising comments by Peter Hendy of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The ABC this morning reported Hendy saying that the first priority should be implementing legislation passed last year, but a number of outstanding issues will have to be addressed.

‘There is still too much centralised decision making left with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission,’ Hendy said.

‘There is still too high a reliance on the award system which is a centralised system which is basically decided in the city of Melbourne for the whole of Australia.’

ACTU comment

‘The Howard Government knows that their IR changes are ‘violently opposed’ by the Australian community, but the comments by Nick Minchin to a big business audience and supported by Hendy show that the Government is only interested in keeping big business happy on this issue,’ said ACTU President Sharan Burrow.

‘John Howard’s attempt to make this issue go away should not fool workers.

‘The Government did not tell the community at the last election that they intended to remove unfair dismissal laws for 3.5 million workers, undermine penalty rates, overtime, weekend rates, public holidays.

‘Nor did he tell them he intended to make it easier for employers to force workers onto individual contracts that undercut take home pay and remove conditions.

‘John Howard hid his plans before the last election, so why should workers believe that he doesn’t agree with Nick Minchin and Peter Hendy?’


Awards, AIRC under attack in new IR changes - says Minister

Post details