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They are coming to build the barbie - just like the HIA said they would



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JOHN HOWARD, M.P.

MEMBER FOR BENNELONG SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING

IR 023/93

THEY ARE COMING TO BUILD THE BARBIE - JUST LIKE THE HIA SAID THEY WOULD

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Housing, Mr Howe, should state why he is ostracising the Housing Industry Association.

Mr Howe should explain why he has withdrawn his acceptance of the HIA's pre-election invitation to open its annual national convention next week.

Mr Howe might also like to explain how and why the contractors' provisions in the Industrial Relations Act, which supposedly were inserted to catch "sham° contracts, now are being used to revise genuine contracts.

HIA was one of several industry organisations which opposed Labor Government policies and campaigned against Labor during the campaign.

The campaign is over. Why is the Government running a vendetta against the HIA? Is the Government intent on punishing all the industry organisations which opposed it during the campaign, or has the HIA been singled out for victimisation?

Mr Howe's curmudgeonly behaviour cannot be justified on the basis that HIA's opposition to the contractors' provisions of the Industrial Relations Act were mistaken.

The grounds of its objection - that the provisions would allow the unions to try to impose award conditions on the industry -are coming true.

The Federal Government and the trade unions have claimed that the contractors' provisions of the Industrial Relations Act were not aimed at genuine contractors in the building industry they were meant to catch contrived contracting arrangements between employers and employees [see attached brochures].

The HIA disagreed. Its legal advice - confirmed several times - was that the contractors' provisions put all contracting arrangements in the housing sector of the building industry within reach of the trade unions, and that the contracting system in the industry was in danger of being displaced by the award system.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

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The HIA had available to it several studies showing that unionisation of the housing industry would raise the cost of a house by between 15 and 25 per cent.

Events have vindicated the HIA. Solemn protestations from the Government and the unions notwithstanding, the CFMEU now has taken a South Australian builder, Homestead Award winning Homes Pty Ltd, into the Industrial Relations Commission.

The CFMEU is not claiming Homestead's contract with one of the union's members, a bricklayer who freely and voluntarily sub-contracted to Homestead, was a sham arrangement.

The CFMEU is not asking the commission to review the contract because the contract was an artificial device to get around an employer/employee relationship.

Instead, the union is asking the commission to review the contract because it objects to its terms and conditions.

And members of the CFMEU have picketed Homestead's 12 demonstration home sites handing out two leaflets [attached].

Paradoxically, one leaflet insisted the contractors' legislation would not be used against the housing industry. The other advised people inspecting the homes that there was a dispute (arising out of the contractors' provisions) between the CFMEU and Homestead.

"The union believes that if the dispute is not resolved satisfactorily it could escalate and cause disruption to ongoing and future building work by Homestead Homes," the pamphlet warned potential buyers.

Homestead is defending the action. It also is contesting the commission's right to deal with the matter, and the dispute about jurisdiction is likely to be decided by the High Court.

CANBERRA 13 May 1993

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