Labor IR reps mock Howard’s workplace taskforce

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Labor IR reps mock Howard’s workplace taskforce

Two senior Labor IR spokesmen have dismissed the Howard Government’s new taskforce to sell its workplace relations changes as a collection of overpaid spin doctors selling propaganda.

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Two senior Labor IR spokesmen have dismissed the Howard Government’s new taskforce to sell its workplace relations changes as a collection of overpaid spin doctors selling propaganda.

Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Stephen Smith said that, not satisfied with a $20 million advertising budget for the changes, Howard had ‘hastily cobbled together a group of backbenchers to ramp up the government’s propaganda’.

‘This follows reports that former Peter Reith staffer and chief Liberal hatchet-man, Ian Hanke, has joined Minister Andrews' office as his industrial relations media adviser, and speculation that the Prime Minister’s former Chief of Staff and spin doctor, Graeme Morris has been appointed by the Howard Government to assist with its industrial relations changes,’ Smith said.

‘John Howard and Kevin Andrews can solicit all the propaganda “experts” they like, but the government’s propaganda campaign will fail for one very basic reason: the Prime Minister refuses to give a guarantee that no individual Australian employee will be worse off as a result of the government’s industrial relations changes. On the contrary, last week he conceded that people would be worse off.

‘All the spin in the world will not convince Australian employees that under these changes they have nothing to look forward to other than having their wages reduced, their conditions and entitlements stripped and their safety nets removed.’

NSW Minister's reaction

NSW Industrial Relations Minister, John Della Bosca, described Howard’s new workplace propaganda taskforce as a collection of overpaid spin doctors selling an impossible message.

‘John Howard is raiding the tax-payer’s hip pocket to convince the tax-payer they will be better off by working harder and longer for less money with no holidays,’ Della Bosca said.

‘Australians understand the Commonwealth is trying to sell a faulty product and they won’t buy it.

‘No amount of spin from a taskforce, advice from consultants or a $20 million taxpayer-funded advertising campaign will change that reality.’

‘The Commonwealth’s attempt to strip away entitlements and protections have been opposed by all State and Territory governments, most State Liberal and National Party opposition leaders, families, workers, major businesses, church leaders and charities,’ Della Bosca said.

‘Australians are genuinely concerned about the real impact on their employment and their quality of life.

Della Bosca said Australians wanted to maintain the current state and territory-based industrial relations systems which deliver:

  • A socially determined minimum wage.
  • A general safety net of employment conditions.
  • Protection for independent contractors.
  • The right of workers to collectively bargain.
  • An independent umpire with powers of dispute resolution.

‘It is crucial Howard starts to understand the Australian community do not want his ideology-driven changes,’ Della Bosca said.

Related

Howard moves to sell IR reforms to public with new Taskforce
 

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