Three months into IR debate ...

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Three months into IR debate ...

Three months after John Howard announced major industrial relations changes, the ALP has continued its attacks on the Prime Minister, saying that he has failed to mount any sound or compelling economic or social case for the changes.

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Three months after John Howard announced major industrial relations changes, the ALP has continued its attacks on the Prime Minister, saying that he has failed to mount any sound or compelling economic or social case for the changes.

Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Stephen Smith was speaking at the Industrial Reform 2005 Conference in Sydney last week and said that political ideology, not the national interest, remained the fundamental motivation behind the changes.

Smith's address outlined the following key points:

  • The Government's public policy objective of the changes is to reduce salaries and remove minimum standards from the workplace landscape.

  • The Government's industrial relations changes are an attack upon the living standards of middle Australia and working Australian families.

  • The changes are also an attack on the values, virtues and characteristics that Australians have historically held dear.

In contrast, the Prime Minister has proclaimed that under his Government the Minimum Wage has risen by 12%  in real terms. See: IR news wrap 

ALP says Government is obsessed

Smith continued:

'The Government's obsession is that the only way we can be internationally competitive is to slash wages and conditions. Minister for Industry and Resources Ian Macfarlane has admitted as much with his preference for Australian wages to be reduced to that of New Zealand ...

While reducing the minimum wage in real terms would have its most immediate adverse impact on those people entirely dependent upon the minimum wage, it will then have the effect over time of also reducing in real terms the value of the wages and salaries of those people who are above the minimum wage level.'

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