Rudd rejects call to 'junk' IR policies

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Rudd rejects call to 'junk' IR policies

The election of Kevin Rudd as the new leader of the Labor Party has been welcomed by State Premiers and union leaders, but an employer organisation has called on him to 'junk' Labor's IR policies as his first move.

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The election of Kevin Rudd as the new leader of the Labor Party has been welcomed by State Premiers and union leaders, but an employer organisation has called on him to 'junk' Labor's IR policies as his first move.

'Rudd's first actions must be to junk Mr Beazley's extreme industrial relations policies,' said Kevin MacDonald, CEO of ABL State Chamber.

However Rudd nominated Australian manufacturing, the country's workplace laws and relations between the Commonwealth and the States in areas of health and education, as part of his focus as the new leader.

He said parents were concerned about 'their kids becoming guinea pigs' under the Federal Government's industrial relations laws.

'Return to the past'

He accused Prime Minister John Howard of taking 'a bridge too far' on workplace and climate change policies.

Howard congratulated Rudd on his election but said he offered a return to a 'union-dominated past'. He said the future ought to be built on the enterprise and aspirations of individual Australians.

'Do you want to go back to a past dominated by unions or do you want to go forward?' Howard said.

Good for union movement

John Robertson, Secretary of Unions New South Wales, said the vote was a resounding victory for Mr Rudd and good news for the party.

'It means that the Labor Party can move forward,' he said. 'That's a very pleasing outcome for the union movement to ensure that we can go on to the next election with a leader who can articulate industrial relations into the broader economic debate for working families.'

ACTU President, Sharan Burrow, said Kim Beazley deserved praise for his time as Opposition leader.

'Perhaps Kim just wasn't in the right place at the right time,' she said. 'He's been a very, very good leader of the party, taken us to elections that should've been won and weren't.

'You've got to say some of that was just an absolute bad luck draw.'

Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, said Rudd's win 'will herald is a new period of stability for the party'.

Stability in leadership

'It's important that if you have good policy and good government, it's important you also have stability in leadership. I'd urge everyone to get behind Kevin - having a Queenslander as the alternative Prime Minister is good for the State and good for Australia.'

Heather Ridout, Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group, said Rudd is well known to industry and is a person of competence and energy.

'His business experience should serve him well in dealing with broader economic issues,' she said. 'There are a lot of Labor policies yet to be clarified or publicly released and the new leadership team has some serious work to do.'

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