Labor clung to 'Ideological' IR laws despite economy: Libs

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Labor clung to 'Ideological' IR laws despite economy: Libs

The Labor Government has changed many of its election policies because of the current economic crisis, but refused to do the same with its IR laws because of ideological reasons, the Opposition has claimed.

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The Labor Government has changed many of its election policies because of the current economic crisis, but refused to do the same with its IR laws because of ideological reasons, the Opposition has claimed.
 
IR spokesman Michael Keenan told the Australian Mines and Metals Association conference in Adelaide this week that he could not think of a more ‘counter-productive’ policy direction than to re-regulate the labour market, in a manner that ‘puts an outdated ideology ahead of jobs and productivity’.
 
Bad law
 
‘Anyone who disagrees with a contention that the Fair Work Act is bad law should consider the impact of the current economic conditions on virtually every other policy and promise taken by Labor to the last election,’ Keenan said.
 
‘Broadband, fiscal conservatism, banks passing on interest rate cuts, evidence based policy making — all were Labor promises and all were the subject of a complete 180 back-flip when elected to Government.
 
‘So what is the one consistent explanation for these embarrassing electoral back-flips?
 
‘According to Rudd, it’s the global economic slowdown — Labor’s greatest policy alibi.’
 
No pragmatism
 
However Keenan said there was no such pragmatism when it came to workplace relations.
 
‘All of a sudden ramming through an election policy completely unchanged to suit a rapidly changing economy becomes, according to the Government, admirable and responsible,’ he said.
 
‘This is absolute and blatant hypocrisy.
 
‘Of course global economic circumstances have changed and of course they will hurt our economy and lead to job losses.
 
‘The problem is that the Government’s policies are making a bad situation worse.
 
Prudent to review’
 
‘It is a responsible and prudent approach to review policy in light of such circumstances, except, it appears, workplace relations policy.’
 
Keenan claimed the following ‘facts’ about the Fair Work Bill:
  • It will increase costs to business.
  • It will reduce flexibility in a workplace.
  • It will be a disincentive to employ people.
  • It will cost jobs.
Ideology won out
 
‘Yet Labor refused to review its policy in light of these widely accepted facts,’ he said.
 
‘Clearly, Labor’s outdated industrial ideology overtook the need for responsible and prudent policy making.’
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