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Monday, 7 November 2005
Page: 23


Mr BARTLETT (1:54 PM) —Yesterday I attended a forum in Hawkesbury in my electorate on the proposed industrial relations reforms. Hopefully, it was beneficial to those who attended with an open mind. Sadly, however, the meeting was dominated and disrupted by a number of ALP and union members, which made it very hard for people who came along to get information. The forum typified what is going on in this debate. It was a contrast between rhetoric and scaremongering on one side and the factual record on the other side. The factual record is this: in spite of the scaremongering that we heard 10 years ago when the first round of industrial relations reforms was introduced, this country has benefited from the flexibility introduced to the labour market. These benefits have included: a 14.9 per cent rise in average real wages, a 10.7 per cent rise in minimum real wages, a fall in unemployment from 8.5 per cent to 5.1 per cent and 1.7 million jobs created. This second round of reforms will continue to deliver more jobs, higher wages and higher living standards for the Australian people in the same way as the first round. There could not be a greater contrast between the factual record of this side of the House and the empty rhetoric and scaremongering of the other side.