Unitary system, or radical changes to IR - but not both, say Democrats

News

Unitary system, or radical changes to IR - but not both, say Democrats

The Democrats have renewed their offer to Prime Minister Howard to back his national workplace relations system - but only if he abandons his proposed ‘radical’ IR reforms.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

The Democrats have renewed their offer to Prime Minister Howard to back his national workplace relations system - but only if he abandons his proposed ‘radical’ IR reforms.

‘The Democrats will not support the proposed radical changes to the Federal Workplace Relations Act’, Australian Democrats Workplace Relations spokesman Senator Andrew Murray said today. ‘However, we do support a unitary system.’

Murray said the community backlash against industrial relations reforms will not go away, but will actually get worse if the Coalition’s proposals pass the Senate.

But, with the growing likelihood that some Coalition Senators will oppose a single unitary industrial relations system, he repeated the Democrats' offer to the Coalition to choose between the national interest and ideology.

‘In other words, choose between a unitary IR system or introducing radical changes to the Federal Workplace Relations Act,’ Murray said.

‘If enough Coalition Senators scuttle this sensible unitary system proposal, we would only pass the unitary system proposal and not the radical changes to the Act.

‘We would also need an iron-clad guarantee that the federal Act would thereafter be subject to only modest change.’

Senate in the spotlight

Senator Murray said the Prime Minister has proposed two major industrial relations changes: he wants to radically alter the federal system, and he wants the federal system to take over the state systems.

‘The first is ideologically driven, the second, the creation of a unitary system, is in the national interest,’ Murray said. ‘Those two are not compatible or reconcilable.’

Senator Murray said some Coalition Senators look likely to oppose a single unitary industrial relations system but to support the radical changes to the federal system.

‘That means one or the other will fail to pass the Senate. So what will Mr Howard choose? The national interest or ideology?’ Murray said.

‘The Democrats have the numbers to deliver a unitary system, which we have long supported, but we strongly oppose radical change to the federal system.

‘Ideological reforms are just that, ideology, and will hurt the average worker. A unitary system will bring efficiency and costs savings to the system and employers. We offer the Prime Minister the chance to choose the national interest over ideology.’

Related

ACTU starts to buckle on national IR system

A unitary IR system - how and why?
 

Post details