States won’t cop 'unfair' national workplace system - Labor

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States won’t cop 'unfair' national workplace system - Labor

The States will not support the Howard Government's push for a national workplace relations policy 'because no one wants to cop an unfair system', the Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Stephen Smith believes.

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The States will not support the Howard Government's push for a national workplace relations policy 'because no one wants to cop an unfair system', the Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Stephen Smith believes. 

In a doorstop interview Smith said the detail of any such proposal by the Government would be 'unfair, divisive and extreme'. 

'It's quite clear that when the Government gets control of the Senate, they won't be able to help themselves,' he said. 

'It's also clear that having got the Senate out of the way Mr Howard would now like to get the States and then the Industrial Relations Commission out of the way.' 

Fair system - the issue

Asked if he could not support a single national industrial relations system, Smith said it is 'possible in the abstract hypothetically as a public policy idea, to contemplate a single industrial system provided it was fair'.  

'But that's not what the Prime Minister has in mind,' he said. 

'It's not about efficiency, or productivity, or competitiveness, it's all about whipping workers in an unfair way. 

'John Howard has waited thirty years of his life to, in an unencumbered way, try and promote his view of industrial relations. And we know from John Howard in the past that will be divisive and confrontational.'  

On industrial relations reform Smith said Labor had always made it clear that it believe in a flexible but fair system.  

'We do believe that Australia needs to be internationally competitive; we do believe that Australia needs to be productive,' he said.  

'And when we were last in government we made substantial changes which had that effect. So we're all in the market place for changes to industrial relations which provides flexibility but with fairness.  

'We've made it clear that our industrial relations approach is under review. But we've also made it clear that we won't cop any of John Howard's extreme views, any of his divisive views, or any of his views which are unclear.  

'A single industrial relations system, or a national industrial relations system would have to be fair and it would have to be done with the cooperation of the States.  

'Howard himself has acknowledged that he is unlikely to get that, because other than the Liberal Party, no one wants to cop an unfair system.' 

Related

One workplace relations system 'in national interest' – ACCI  


 

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