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Hello and welcome to Meet the Press.

Well this morning you can run but

you can't hide from the

Government's advertising campaign

promoting its proposed changes to

our industrial laws. It's a

megaspend of taxpayers' dollars

aimed at securing public approval

of the changes which the Government

says we need to maintain our

prosperity. Labor and the unions

say the pay and entitlements of all

workers will never be the same

again. We'll talk to Liberal MP

Andrew Robb, the chairman of the Government's industrial relations

task force. And also, today, the

Bali nine. What role did our own

Federal police play in putting nine

Australians at risk of death by

firing squad? We'll hear the view

from the law council of Australia

on that issue and on the new

counter-terrorism laws. But first

to what the nation's press is

reporting this Sunday October 16.

The royal birth in Denmark

dominates the front pages as you'd

expect to Crown prpbgs Frederik and

Mary, a 3 .5kg baby girl.

Well Liberal MP Andrew former Federal director of the

Liberal Party and now chairman of

the Government's industrial relations task force and he's our

guest this morning. Welcome to the

program. Good morning, Greg.

Well, first, to the claim from

Labor today that the industrial

relations changes you're proposing

will reduce average earnings and

that will have n impact on pensions,

should penners in be worried? Look

this is just a further example of

the sort of scaremongering that

they're raking over day by day,

we're coming up with all of this

deliberate deception, the fact of

the matter is with pensioners, the

pension is related to average male

weekly earnings. And over the last

9.5 years, average male weekly

earns have gone up in real terms by

nearly 15%. Now that compares with

about 2% over the previous 13 years

of Labor. The reason we are

embarking on these changes is to

try and maintain that growth in

real take home pay and therefore

the sort of underpinning of pensions

The real risk, the real risk to

lower pay, fewer jobs, higher interest rates and pressure on

pensions, comes from us doing

nothing. Comes from us doing what

the Labor Party is suggesting, that

we do nothing. Unless we embark on

those changes, pensions would be

under threat I notice you trump tet

rise in real wages over those years

but the fact of the matter is that

your gufrt was opposed to

increases in the industrial

relations commission every time and

now you'll have a so-called fair

pay commissioner who whose English

counterpart is called the low pay commissioner and that's that office it's modelled

on?The commission in the UK has

increased minimum wages but I

think it's 30% since they came into

existence in 899 and they have

looked at the sustainable in the

economy, and they have seen real

increases and again the furphy is

that as you say, it's just a repeat

of the Labor line, that we have

opposed - we have advocated

increases at every initial wage

case since we came to power. People

know, that the way in which the

minimum wage is altered , it's a

very artificial construct, it's 100

years old, it's based out of

disputes, they can only resolve a

minimum wage claim, the commission,

by the creation of a dispute. The

sku puts up some unreal yisic

figure. The employer and Government

comes with another blefl. It bears

in relationship whoways going on in

the economy and we have supported wage increases and we will continue

to support wage increases, and the

only way we'll have scant wage

increases in this country is if we

make the changes we have on the

table Let's look at one of the cut

dlu messages of the past week from

people expressing concern about

these changes in this case the

Archbishop Jensen. There won't be

time for relationships, and after

all I would have thought that's

what life is about, rather than the

economy. Without shared time we

may as well be robots. I have to

admit I wait anniously to see what a new workplace relations system is

going to peen for our community.

Andrew Robb, do you have enough

Government advertising dollars up

a your sleeve to assuage the

concerns of people like the

Archbishop Jensen? Well, that's not

a question of advertising. The

advertising is seeking to explain

the detail of what we're doing. The

factor of the people is that we

want what the churches want. We

want strong families. And I do

Government if there's one hallmark, think that, 10 years a coalition

if there's one great achievement it

has been a whole raft of initials

to make families strongly and if

you look at the impact of the

changes we made in 96 to the work

place, which built on the changes

Paul Keating started in 1993, we

have seen in the last 10 years and

you look at it f you look at the

work place agreements, there are an

increasing number of

family-friendly arrangements that

are building into these agreements.

We are just trying to extend that.

We understand what the bishop is on

about. We within a stronger

families and we are convinced we

wouldn't be doing this, we would

not be doing if we thought this

would put Mr Pressure on families.

We want stronger familys. Let me

put one specific example to you. Tancred. There was an enterprise

agreement put to them that was

going to include taking away their penalty and holiday pay for 16

cents an hour additional. That was

knocked back because of the no

disadvantage test. You want to

scrap the no disadvantage test. Yes

or no, under your system, will

people be open to losing their

holiday and penalties for as little

as 16 cents an hour? Well, as 16 cents an hour? Well, again,

that was a misrepresentation a dib

rit deception. The figure, the

example they brought up related to casuals, the permanents were

several dollars an hour more for

their arrangements, which they were

trading away, and which the

workforce were happy with. But the

thing about the no disadvantage

test, Greg, is that it is

impossible to use. It just doesn't

work. It seemed to work for Tancred

it bumped them up to $1.31? No, in

Tancred Fresh, the workforce, they sat down with the workforce and

negotiated an ciepbsed arrangement.

It wasn't to do, you look at the no

disadvantage test. It's totally subjective, it's totally subjective, let me finish, it's totally

subjective n most cases someone

comes up with a 10 or 15 page documents, an agreement with their

workforce, they then try and

compare that with literally

hundreds of pages of an award.

No-one can do it. Even the

commissioners say that they just

make a judgment, they don't really compare these things. And what it

has been, is that the unions use this no disadvantage test to impose

hundreds of requirements into an

agreement which are not wanted by

anybody, which increase the

regulations, and which increase the

costs and which reduce job and

reduce terms and conditions. It has

worked against good conditions.

Andrew Robb we'll come ba back to.

That when we return, Government

advertising and Kim Beazley at his

angryest. I was just getting over Mondayitis no shampoo had taken me before. At once I was immersed in 100% natural botanicals. Where are my socks? In your drawer. Damn reality. agree it's the best they've tried. People have really noticed the difference. I'll try new brands and I just don't get the same effect. I don't know all the technical things but it definitely does something.

You're on Meet the Press with our

guest Andrew Robb and we're joined

by our panel this morn, Louise

Dodson from the snog and Brad

Norington from the 'Australian'

newspaper. Here's how cranky Kim

Beazley got in parliament on

Wednesday on the subject of the

Government's IR ads and the abolition of that no disadvantage

test. These last touchy point is

ripped away by this legislation, he

has the hide to stand in this

chamber and tell us that nothing

has changed. When that is the very

essence of his legislation, the

very heart of his legislation , is

that that no disadvantage test gets

ripped away. Brad Norington? Good

morning more Robb. You said that

there's been a lot of scaremongering about the campaign

and complaints about your workplace

relations package, but these

workplace relations changes you're proposing, they don't give

employees anything, but they take a

lot away, so that's a pretty hard

sell, isn't it? Well, that's just

not true. That's just not true,. It

gives employees the opportunity in

tens of thousands of work places to

sit down with their employer and

work out arrangements which will

suit them, not a set of conditions, 400 pages of conditions that are

imposed by some group of

industrial bureaucrats at the top

end of town and that's what

happened, we've had 100 year of

conditions determined by a bunch

of industrial buecatds at the top

end of town imposed on every work

place around this country, the 1.5 million. What we are providing is

an opportunity to make agreement

making easy easy, we get a culture

where employers sit down with their

employees and work out what's going

to work for you, can a young mum

start half an hour later so she

can drop the kids off at school,

and make that up some other way in

the work place, not as some 9 to

five stricture which has been

imposed by a bunch of suits

somewhere at the top end of town.

This is what we're doing. This is

really important for families. With

respect, Mr Robb, you can do those

things right now, but the minimum conditions for employees are going

to change so that no longer will

bit guaranteed that workers can get

public holidays, rest break,

penalty rates, shift loadingss, that kind of thing. They're the

minimum conditions that are going.

Well, as you say, right now, some

of those things, if it works to

trade off some of those penalty

rates and whatever for productivity

improvements for a higher rate of

pay per hours that happening but

where is it happening. That's where

we've had the big improvements in

the economy but it's happened often

in the bigger work places where they

can afford to sit down and

negotiate with the unions and come

to some arrangement. But in most of

the small business work places and

medium sized businesses across the

country, they have not got that

opportunity. If they try and strike

an agreement, and sit down with

their work place, when they submit

that to the commission, the unions

stick their nose in, they frustrate

it, they use the no disadvantage

test in a quite incorrect and

malicious way to force all sorts of

arrangements, faurs themselves into

the deal, so much so that employers

say it's not worth the candle, I'll

stay with this rigid, award based

system, I won't take the advantages

I could, and I'll just stay with

what I've been doing and they're

denyed this opportunity in tens of

thousands, hundreds of thousands of work places across the economy. If

we don't unlock this potential, we

will not keep the growth going in

this economy, we've got to keep

making these changess or otherwise

the wellbeing and the good fortune

we've had the last few years will

be lost. Mr Robb, you've said that

this depends on employers being

good guys, but you've also admitted

that about 5% will be bad aples, -

apples, will the penaltys be tough

enough to get to those bad apples?

That's been a very important focus

of ours, that we won't genuine

bargaining in the work place.

You've raised a very good point

here Louise, I think the unions,

they're focused overwhelmingly on

the 5% bad apples and there'll

always be bad apples among

employers and employees, always will be and always has been.

They're focused on that 5%. We're

focused on the 9 a% of good

employers and good employees and

trying to free them up to really

make arrangements which work. Now,

what the unions want to do is to

impose a raft as they have done for

100 years, of major regulations,

choking regulation, on the 100% of

work places to catch the 5%. Will

there be fines? There are serious

fines. There's a doubling of the

inspectate, there's be 200

inspectors out, there hotlines for

people to make contact if they feel

they've been coerced with is

unlawful, if they feel they've been

under duress which is unlawful, if

they feel the arrangements that

they've entered to are not being

admered to, they'll be able to

make call inspectate also come out,

even last year the last year, there

were 4700 cases which will taken by

the inspectorate and we're going,

we've improved on those

protections, it is very important

that if people, if they're going to bargain, that they can genuinely

bargain. Mr Robb, you seem to be

pinning a lot of what you're saying

on the unions but in fact a percent

of the workforce doesn't even blpbg

to a trade union, therefore, in

that case how do you sell the package to the non-union votsers,

they're the once you have to persuade for the next election and

they are the people who without

union backing or bargaining power

or whatever you want to call it,

face prospect of looking at an

employer across the table, and the

employer says "Well, here's the

contract, I want you to sign for

you new job and it doesn't have

rest breaks, penalty rates, meal

breaks, public holidays and so son."

nothing to do with unions? Well,

one of the problems with the

current system is that it's still

allows for the union movement

whether they've got members or not

in lots of cases, to stick their

nose into agreement making and to

frustrate it la to discourage many

work places from embarking on that.

With the commission, with the aid

of the commission in many cases, so

the system , the system the

regulation, and the existing

parties that have been there for

100 years continue to frustrate a lot of agreement making so that's

one point, the unions and other

parts of the system are important

to free that up, but in terms of

the workforce, you know, it is a

workers' market out there and in

many respects what we're doing will

enhance the bargaining position and

the capacity of lots of workers

with skills and experience to cut

really good deals, but better deals,

things are more relevant to them,

more family friendly, the good ,

people who are doing a good yob? In

community and overwhelmingly that's

the case, will be better off with

these changes and yet we've put in

protections, we've put in

protections for others, the minimum conditions are important

protections and we have put in a

floor a strong safety net, for

everybody, and those that will do a

goods job will be better off under

this system. And that is fair. Well,

a fair enough then, fair being the

operative word. Thanks very much

Andrew Robb for joining us from

Melbourne this morning. My pleasure.

After the break, what role did the

Federal place play in the unfolding

tragedy of the Bali nine. Or

cartoon of the work shows the

You're on Meet the Press. Well, the

Bali nine trials which began this

week in Bali have raised the

spectre of up to nine young

Australians facing the death

penalty in Indonesia. The family of

at least one of the defendants

claims to have tried to persuade

the Federal police to prevent their

son from leaving Australia knowing

he intended to traffic drugs. The

law council of Australia has taken

an interest in this matter andets

President is John North. Welcome to

the perhaps. Good morning What are

your concerns about the role of the

Federal police and what should they

the doing other than trying to

track down and intercept people trafficking in nor cotics? The

concern is that our Government will

not kooplt with the foreign

Government if the death penalty is

on the table. Yet our Federal

police have agreement are agreed

to cooperate with the Indonesian

authorities ven though they would

have known that the death penalty

could be in play. Mr North, the

cooperation between the AFP and

Indonesian authorities is one of

the main means that we have of combatting terrorism and obviously

we've had the Bali bombers, isn't

that cooperation really needed for

combattling terrorism as well as

drug smuggling? Cooperation is

needed but there can rarely be

anything more important than nine

young Australians, even if misguided faces the death penalty

in a park in Denpasar in Bali. The

Federal police should have

received assurances from the

Indonesian authorities that if they

assisted the death penalty would

not with asked for. Can we just,

let's look at some of the words of

the PM a couple of weeks ago when

the Bali nine issue was put to him. He was quite vehement about his

view of the Australians who keel in

drugs overseas. Australians who

take drugs into Asian countries do

so at their own peril. And any

Australian who does that has taken total leave of their senses, they

have been warned time and time

again. That the countries of Asia

have very savage laws about drugs.

Are you saying that the Federal police should have stepped in to

prevent in this case Scott Rush

from leaving Australia, as , - at

the risk of the entire operation,

intercepting those others in Bali?

Well, I understand his lawyers are

trying to find out how much

involvement the AFP had. If they knew either before or at the time

that Scott Rush was still in

Australia they should have done

something. That something should

have been to organise with the Indonesian authorities that the

death pepbl not be in play, because

if they let him go, they knew that

the death penalty would be there.

What the PM just said is quite sad,

really. You cannot legislate for

stupidity and we have to look as

Australians as anti-death penalty nations, against sending Australians to their death

Presumably you don't have an

objection to the Federal police assisting Indonesian police to

track down the original Bali

bombers with who now face the death

penalty. Do you have a sort of

division there, that you're only

against the death penalty for

Australians? With we can't

interfere in the Indonesian system,

if they believe in the death

penalty, we they is misguided tpwhau is their business but we would assist only in Australian

citizens cases or people directly

connected with Australia if the

death penalty is on the table. The

PM then just made it quite clear

that people who consider taking

drugs to Bali are really taking

leave of their senses. Hasn't he

got a point there, and doesn't that

really temper your argument in

wairbgs because it really does put

the responsibility on these people.

They know what they're in for? Perhaps they do and perhaps they

don't. You find a lot of cells

don't actually read the criminal

code of a country before they go

and a lot of them aren't in a

position to think as clearly as you

and I. One thing we really need to

understand is that this is talking about people being shot. Mr North,

just changing the subject, on to

the Federal Government's proposed counter-terrorism legislation. It

was released on Friday. On a

website. I imagine you would have

seen it. Do you think these new

proposals would make Australia a

police state? We're moving down

that path. And the fact that the

Government wanted to move these

laws through parliament with

indecent haste and without letting

us as a law council or other interested people have wide

community consultation, means that

we're very concerned about them.

Well, one of the provisions of the

anti-terrorism laws as we've seen

from Jon Stanhope revealing them

over the weekend, is that potentially people can be jailed

for up to seven years for ill will.

Now, in the wildest application of

that law, you might see journalists

around the country locked up? Yes

it's a tantalising prospect, but

that's one of the problems with

legislating in this sort of way,

in a hasty, ill thought out way, we

understand that the people are skir

scared, we understand that

terrorism is the major, major issue

but we must not take away

fundamental rights without asking

our Government to assure us that we

are going to be safer. Just on the

prospect of giving Federal prospect of giving Federal police

the power to shoot to kill? What do

you say to that, balanced on the

current law which is that police

should be able to shoot in defence?

We really question why the use of

force part was put in the bill at

all. It seems to be to try and

cover situations such as the London

underground shooting, and there is

really no need to have put that use

of force in there because you must

remember the use of force is only

to be used for people who are not

actually suspected of having

committed a crime. It's to put them under arrest for the control orders

or the preventive detention orders

Is it your reading that children as

young as 16 would be able to be

held in preventative detention for

up to 14 days? Yes it looks as if and hopefully they'll have a look

at that, but there are some special circumstances for people between 16

and 18 and then over 18 the full

force of these laws comes into play.

Just finally, John North, are you

concerned that the washup from the

London bombings, particularly I

think there was a real impetus for

a hardening of our laws, bipartisan

at the Federal political level s

the law council lailt bit at odds

with public opinion in that regards.

You're sounding like the voice of

the left? It's funny but

internationally it is really only

lawyers who are are trying to hold their Governments to account at

this stage. We think the people

will understand as soon as they start to see these laws misused

and abused by our police and

intelligence authorities. Right,

John North, thank you very much. We'll be watching the process of

those laws through the parliament in the coming weeks thanks for

joining us this morning? Our thanks

to John North from the Law Council

of Australia and to our panel,

Dodsoned and Brad Norington. A

transcript of this program will be

on the web shortly. Until next week,

it's goodbye from Meet the Press.

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