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Wednesday, 1 June 2005
Page: 71


Dr JENSEN (2:25 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. Is the minister aware of any survey results on attitudes to the government’s plans for a new workplace relations system? What is the minister’s response?


Mr ANDREWS (Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) —I thank the member for Tangney for his question and can indicate to him that the response from business groups, including those many small businesses that operate in the electorate of the member for Tangney, has been overwhelmingly positive. We have also seen this deliberately misleading campaign run by the ALP and the ACTU against these reforms. Last Friday, as I told the parliament recently, we had Fran from Lane Cove—a supposed battler, who pretended to be on the minimum wage. Then, last Sunday, the ACTU released the results of a survey which showed apparent opposition to the reforms. There are some interesting things about this survey. The first thing is that the reforms were announced on 26 May. The survey was conducted from 23 to 26 May. So this was a survey showing results about reforms that had not yet been announced.

One will also notice from the ACTU’s press release that the questionnaire used in the survey was developed by a firm called Essential Research. Essential Research is a business name for a company by the name of Essential Media Communications—EMC Pty Ltd. I looked into this a bit further, and what I discovered was that EMC in Victoria operates out of a building in Carlton which is also occupied by the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union. This union group includes the well-known Electrical Trades Union and such well-known characters as Dean Mighell. In Sydney, EMC operates out of a building in Sussex Street—the same building that is occupied by not just the Labor Council of New South Wales but also the New South Wales Labor Party. A search of the ASIC database reveals that EMC is owned and operated by four people. One of these people formerly worked for three unions: the ANF, the FSU and the AEU. Two of them previously worked as media officers for the Victorian Trades Hall Council; one of them, Mr Lewis, is currently a media officer for the Labor Council of New South Wales; and all four are shareholders of a company by the name of Auspoll Pty Ltd, which has been accused in the past of push polling for the Victorian ALP.

In addition to this, EMC—the company that has conducted this survey—has donated money to the Australian Labor Party, it has worked on a number of ALP campaigns and it has received over $100,000 in consultancies from the Bracks Labor government. I invite members to go to EMC’s web site. They can find it at www.essentialmedia.com.au. If they are looking for a job, they will find this job description for a job which is currently going for a journalist/media relations person—someone, according to the job ad, who has demonstrated ‘a commitment’ to social campaigning. The job ad also says:

You will also have the opportunity to learn strategic skills including researching attitudes into social issues and developing long-term media strategies to shift public opinion.

Honourable members interjecting—


The SPEAKER —Order! The House will come to order!


Mr Crean interjecting


The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Hotham is warned!


Mr ANDREWS —Last week we said that the ALP and the ACTU would engage in a misleading campaign about the changes that this government proposes. What we have seen over the last few days is clear evidence of that misleading campaign.