IR changes: arrogance claim and Catholic briefing paper


IR changes: arrogance claim and Catholic briefing paper

The Howard Government’s IR changes are marked by ‘extremism, division,arrogance, confusion and complexity’, according to Labor’s IR spokesman Stephen Smith.


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The Howard Government’s IR changes are marked by ‘extremism, division, arrogance, confusion and complexity’, according to Labor’s IR spokesman Stephen Smith.

Smith said they were extreme because they are ‘an attack upon the living standards of middle Australia ‘and an attack upon mainstream values and virtues’ – as shown by concern expressed by major churches, including the Catholics and the Anglicans.

Split in Government ranks

Smith said there was division within the Government, with Howard refusing to back his deputy Mark Vaile over smokos, public holidays and meal breaks being minimum conditions, nor supporting Treasurer Peter Costello over extending exemptions from unfair dismissal laws to all employers.

He said arrogance was displayed when ‘what should be a Liberal Party paid for advertising campaign being paid for by the taxpayer, and going to Liberal Party campaigners’.

‘There is confusion and complexity because we see with the Government trying to remove the States from industrial relations and relying upon the Corporations power, it will have incomplete jurisdiction,’ Smith said.

‘Unincorporated associations, partnerships and trusts will all miss out - there will gaps and complexities.

‘We find Kevin Andrews saying that there will be a three year transition phase for this confusion and complexity.

‘So one day after John Howard gets all power under the sun, all we see is extremism, division, arrogance, confusion and complexity.’

Catholic Church to set out its concerns on Govt’s IR changes

The Catholic Church is set to release a briefing paper on the Government’s proposed industrial relations changes.

Likely opposition to IR proposals

The paper is expected to contradict Prime Minister Howard’s view that there is no such thing as a Catholic or Anglican view on industrial relations, rather individual views.

Catholic Cardinal George Pell and Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop, Peter Jensen, have questioned the morality of the Government’s planned IR changes.

John Ryan from the Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations says the briefing paper highlights more than a century of Catholic teaching on work and justice.

‘There is a long tradition of the church speaking on labour and work and the employment relationship, that work is one of the principal means by which we contribute not only to the workplace but also to society,’ Ryan said.

‘That we’re simply not economic actors or entities, you know, we are not commodities.

‘For us the key question is: are we going to be driven by economic considerations alone or are we also going to be looking at each other as people with needs at both an individual and collective level.

‘[It is important that] In our endeavours to become personally more prosperous that we don’t forget the common good and those that are not as fortunate or well placed in our society.’


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