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Jobs paper must not duck industrial relations issues



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iowariWSiA$E. Member for BennelongShadow Minister for Industrial Relations & Manager of Opposition Business in the HouseIR 072/93JOBS PAPER MUST NOT DUCK INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ISSUESIf the Government's Green Paper on Employment is to mean anything, it must canvass all relevant issues.There must be no ducking of the politically sensitive.It is, therefore, disturbing that in this morning's press there are already suggestions that next week's jobs paper would "attempt to avoid by omission any contentious inciustrial. .relations issues, such as below award wages for the.':long-term unemployed.".It would be totally outrageous if industrial relations issues were omitted from the scope of the Green Paper.Industrial relations policy and practice has a direct and fundamental impact on unemployment levels.One of the major reasons Australia's unemployment level of 11.1 percent is dramatically higher than that of nations such as the United States is the .inflexibility of Australia's labour market system.This inflexibility will be made all the greater if the industrial Relations Bill now before parliament 'passes into law.If the long-awaited Green Paper is a politically correct document merely for the benefit of the labour movement, it will deserve the contempt of the Australian community.Despite some recent welcome news on the .jobs - front, Australia's unemployment situation, particularly for the long- term unemployed, remains chronic.A significant reduction will only be achieved through a combination of high and sustained economic growth and basic structural reforms.The Keating Government will fail its most basic responsibility if it does not have the courage to address all causes of high unemployment.Its track record to date suggests that once again it will cave in to trade union pressure and go soft on necessary industrial relations reforms.SYDNEY 10/12/93COMMONWEALTHPARLIAMENTAP,Y Liu1ZARY MICAH