Like Howard, judge Costello by his actions: Labor

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Like Howard, judge Costello by his actions: Labor

The ALP is pushing hard to keep WorkChoices before the electorate. The latest ALP release notes that Prime Minister, John Howard didn't tell voters about his WorkChoices plans before the last election, but afterwards said people 'knew where he stood' on the issue of industrial relations and therefore had not been misled on his intentions.

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The ALP is pushing hard to keep WorkChoices before the electorate. The latest ALP release notes that Prime Minister, John Howard didn't tell voters about his WorkChoices plans before the last election, but afterwards said people 'knew where he stood' on the issue of industrial relations and therefore had not been misled on his intentions.

Labor is now pursuing a similar line on putative Prime Minister, Peter Costello to show that he too will introduce hard-line IR legislation if he takes power - arguing that, like Howard, his record and views point to this outcome - even if he denies it.

Hard-liner on deregulation

Labor has released a 'time-line' on Costello's IR activities, painting him as one of the great hard-liners on labour market deregulation.

In the document Labor argues that a Prime Minister Costello will take WorkChoices further because he has spent the last 21 years 'agitating, advocating, and legislating for a more and more extreme American style industrial relations system'.

'Reluctant promise'

'Now after 21 years - and in the shadow of an election - Costello has spent the last 21 days reluctantly promising he won't take WorkChoices further,' it says.

The document says Costello's 'extreme industrial relations crusade' includes:

  • 1986 - Formed New Right organisation called the HR Nicholls Society
  • 1986 - Advocated in the National Wage Case a 44% cut to the minimum wage
  • 1986 - Attempted to radically change Liberal Party industrial relations policy from outside Parliament
  • 1989 - Costello installed in safe Liberal seat as part of a New Right push
  • 1991 - Argues to privatise the independent industrial relations umpire
  • 1993 - Supports $3 youth wage under Liberal's Fightback! Policy
  • 1999 - Agitates for cutting the wages and working conditions of employees in regional Australia
  • 2004 - Agitates for the Howard Government to use its Senate majority to introduce extreme industrial relations laws
  • 2005 - Costello, Howard and Kevin Andrews draft WorkChoices legislation plan, Howard forced to restrain Costello from even greater extremism
  • 2005 - Argues to scrap all protections except the minimum wage and put more workers onto unfair AWAs
  • 2005 - Agitates for the removal of all protections from unfair dismissal
  • 2006 - Receives economic modelling from his own Department to take WorkChoices even further
  • 2007 - After a lifetime crusade and in the shadow of an election, begins denying he wants to take WorkChoices further

'Too radical'

The document quotes from an article published in December 1986 in the Business Review Weekly in which Costello says:

'We are looking to influence the debate as much as possible. There are not many of us, so the ideas keep coming from the same people. Basically, we come up with ideas. The Liberals and others say "Oh no, this is too radical for us. We have to get re-elected". So we put them out into the public debate, writing articles and so on and the newspapers publish them and gradually people begin to talk about the ideas.

'Then the Liberals suddenly say “This sounds like a good idea. Who can we get to help us on this", and the natural choice is one of us because we've already been talking about the same thing.'

Hollow promise

'Working families who want to know what life would be like under Prime Minister Costello should look at his 21 years crusade, not his hollow promises over last 21 days,' the document says.

Related

IR plan 'finished' says Howard, but ACTU scoffs

Costello attacks Gillard's 'Communist' past

 

 

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