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Gillard dismissies Treasury's IR leak -

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Gillard dismissies Treasury's IR leak

The World Today - Wednesday, 7 May , 2008 12:13:00

Reporter: Alexandra Kirk

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Government has dismissed leaked Treasury advice that Labor's industrial
relations policies were likely to trigger job losses and wage and price spirals.

The Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the April 2007 Treasury minute pre-dates Labor's
release of its industrial relations policy and therefore cannot be an analysis of the Government's

Ms Gillard, who is also the Minister for Workplace Relations, spoke to Alexandra Kirk a short time

JULIA GILLARD: This is not an analysis of Labor's workplace relations policies. It simply can't be.
This is a minute from the 18th of April last year. Labor's IR policy was announced on the 28th of
April last year.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But Kevin Rudd had outlined Labor's industrial vision, if you like, just before

JULIA GILLARD: Kevin Rudd had made a speech on a number of matters but Labor's full industrial
relations policy was only available on the 28th April.

And then of course, our policy implementation plan which dealt with matters like the way in which
we were going to rid of AWA's was launched on the 28th of August, so this doesn't pass even the
most basic common sense test.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Can you say categorically that your industrial relations policy is not inflationary
or would reduce employment?

JULIA GILLARD: I can say the following categorically: the former government introduced WorkChoices,
it has coincided with acute high inflation - the highest inflation in 16 years - and woeful
productivity numbers.

We have designed a fair and balanced system which is all about bargaining in one's workplace. That
is a system that doesn't feed into inflation because pay increases are productivity-based and
enterprise-based and of course, our system is all about driving productivity, growth.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Do you have any advice to that effect from within the bureaucracy?

JULIA GILLARD: No, I do not and Labor's system is all about getting better productivity growth and
bargaining at an enterprise level and can I say in relation to the government's extreme WorkChoices
laws, in the lead-up to the last election, the government fed false assumptions into modelling.

It spent every day distorting and misrepresenting Labor's policies and the Australian people saw
right through this on election day. This is just more of the same.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So can we take it then that you have not sought any advice and you haven't been
given any advice from within the bureaucracy about the economic effects of your industrial
relations policy?

JULIA GILLARD: We understand the economic effects of our industrial relations policy. We understood
them on the day we released it last year. On the day we released "Forward with Fairness" on the
28th April and the policy implementation plan on the 28th August. We understand that our policy is
designed to be good for productivity.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: In the run up to the last election, Labor argued that the Coalition's WorkChoices
policy was designed to cut labour costs so doesn't it stand to reason that your policy, which
undoes what you deemed to be the worst aspects of WorkChoices would then see wages rise,
comparatively speaking, and therefore fuel inflation?

JULIA GILLARD: The extreme WorkChoices laws of the Howard government, had in them Australian
Workplace Agreements which were designed to rip the safety net away from the workers most at risk
in our community - young workers, people who are low-skilled and low paid.

We have made sure there is nothing in the system that allows people to be exploited and I've never
heard anyone, not any business person or economist in this country, say that their vision for this
country's economy is to have an industrial relations system which allows workers most at risk to be
exploited. We've ended that, that was what WorkChoices was about.

ELEANOR HALL: The deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Workplace Relations Julia Gillard speaking
to Alexandra Kirk.