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SPEERS: Joining me now from Perth is the Federal Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Stephen
Smith. Mr Smith thanks very much for joining us.

Of course we're all waiting to hear from the High Court, both at a State and Federal level, whether
it will decide that these IR changes and the Government's move to introduce a single unified IR
system is constitutional. Do you know when we're going to hear from the High Court on that?

SMITH: Well, I understand that today the parties have been advised that the High Court will hand
its decision down at 10:15am on Tuesday of next week.

So, early next week we'll get a very clear understanding from the High Court about the full extent
of the Commonwealth's powers. Irrespective of what the High Court decides we won't have a so-called
single uniform system. There will still be some people who fall within State jurisdictional
systems, because the Commonwealth will have powers, to some extent, over corporations, but you will
still have Australians who are employed by State Governments, or employed by unincorporated
associations, or partnerships or trusts.

We are still going to end up with John Howard's jurisdictional dog's breakfast and that's because
when he started this not only did he attack Australian employees' rights, he rode roughshod over
the States and that's why we'll still see gaps and difficulties in the administration of the law
here, whatever the High Court determines.

SPEERS: The speculation is that the High Court will rule in the Government's favour, that it did
act within its Constitutional rights in using the Corporations power in this way. Now, will that be
a blow for Labor or will Labor see some advantage in having the High Court tick-off on a national
system that you could use in Government?

SMITH: Well, the general consensus seems to be that the High Court, by majority at least, will rule
substantially in favour of the Commonwealth and that the Commonwealth does have power to make laws
in respect of corporations and industrial relations matters.

In Government, Labor will obviously, as we have done in the past, look to utilize the full extent
of the Commonwealth's power. But in this area we will only do that, as Kim Beazley and I have made
clear, in cooperation with the States, in consultation with the States.

We'll look to possibilities like uniform, join Commonwealth-State laws or harmonization. But the
key thing and the key difference will be that it will be Kim Beazley and the Labor Premiers working
cooperatively, working together, making sure their aren't gaps in jurisdiction. It won't be
JohnáHoward, as he did, announcing an attack upon the States on a Sunday morning TV show. He simply
rode roughshod over them.

SPEERS: That might be wishful thinking though. I mean you're going to have a bit of a battle with
some of the States and also some of the Union figures who still like the idea of State based IR

SMITH: Well, I don't think we will have a battle. I think once we know what the lie of the land is
in terms of the full extent of the Commonwealth's powers, I think it's just Kim Beazley's nature,
and he's made it clear, he'll sit down with the State Premiers and the Chief Ministers of the
Territories, and I'll sit down with my State counterparts, the State Ministers.

I'm absolutely confident that in the end we will come to a sensible understanding which deals with
the jurisdictional matters, but much more importantly deals with the savage attack that JohnáHoward
has made on Australian employees and their rights and entitlements. The attack upon their take-home
pay, conditions and entitlements. And it's that expression of concern we've seen from the National
Party in the middle of a Victorian State election overnight.

SPEERS: Well, it sounds very much, Stephen Smith, like you are hoping the High Court will rule in
the Government's favour?

SMITH: Well, I'm not. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see the High Court chuck-out
this massive attack upon living standards, a massive attack on the Australian way of life and
notion of a fair go and minimum standards and safety nets. Nothing would give me greater pleasure.

But all the legal advice I've seen and all the commentary seems to lead to where you started, which
is on balance that the majority view is that the Commonwealth will be found to have substantial
power here. So if the Commonwealth has legislative power, it's about the Commonwealth Government or
the Federal Government excising and using that power sensibly and fairly. Even if the High Court
says the Howard industrial relations changes are lawful, it doesn't make them fair, it doesn't make
them right, it doesn't make them good for the economy or good for our society.

SPEERS: Sorry to wrap things up here, but we're running out of time.

Can I ask you just quickly about Brian Burke, the former Western Australian Premier has quit the
ALP under pressure from the current Premier Alan Carpenter.

You were Labor's State Secretary in WA in the dying months of Brian Burke's Premiership. Are you
sad to see him leave the Party altogether?

SMITH: Well, I think Premier Alan Carpenter did exactly the right thing. I think he was right when
he said if Brian Burke didn't resign from the Labor Party he would move for his expulsion.
Fortunately the former Premier Brian Burke did resign but I think that Alan Carpenter wants to make
sure that the political damage which was done to the previous Dowding and Lawrence Governments by
Brian Burke doesn't visit the Gallop and the Carpenter Governments.

So, Alan Carpenter has done exactly the right thing and he's got my 110 percent support in his
efforts in this respect.

SPEERS: And Brian Burke has not had any secret lines to you or anyone in Federal Labor as far as
you are aware?

SMITH: Well, I can't recall a conversation I've had with Brian Burke for probably a decade. So I'm
not one of those in the Western Australian society who waits upon his call or his every word and I
think that the events of the last couple of days will find more and more people adopting that

Alan Carpenter is quite right. We need to move on as a Party in Western Australia and as a State
Government. And I think that Alan is showing good leadership here and very much pointing in the
correct direction.

SPEERS: Stephen Smith, live from Perth, thanks very much for your time.

SMITH: Thanks very much David.