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The SMH wrong on ACCI and the waterfront



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A U S T R A L I A N C H A M B L R Ο 1 C O M ML R Cl- A N D I N D U S T R Y

MEDIA RELEASE 2° Apri] 1998 4 C L J ■

THE SMH WRONG ON ACCI AND THE WATERFRONT

Statement by Mark Paterson, Chief Executive

A report by The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday, 18 April (page 1 under a banner headline “Bosses back mass sackings”) selectively and incorrectly reported my comments from a lengthy interview on SBS Insight (16 April).

The SMH report, which has been subsequently picked up by other media outlets, misrepresents the position of ACCI on the waterfront dispute, which I put clearly and succinctly on SBS.

• ’ Tn that interview, I made it very clear that:

• the waterfront dispute needs to be considered in context - that our waterfront is one of the worst in the world and that reform is urgent and critical • it represents a unique set of circumstances which were unlikely to flow through to the whole of the economy • it is an isolated example where the relationship between the employer and the employees has a

major third party blocking any relationship. That isn’t the case in relation to the vast bulk of enterprises in the vast bulk of workplaces. • if there is a direct relationship between the employer and his employees and they negotiate the terms of their engagement directly one to one, then there ought not be a separate device or third

party interfering with that relationship • unproductive workplaces must embrace reform in the way the rest of the economy has done so.

These points are consistent with ACCI’s policy position and the statements issued by ACCI since the inception of this dispute.

Excerpts of the interview are attached, for information.

In the interview, I was not asked whether companies should be encouraged to follow Patrick in using corporate restructuring as asserted by the Herald. The question put and my response is in the enclosed excerpt.

The Herald’s selective reporting of my comments in this instance does little to engender balanced, rational debate on this issue and is not in keeping with the usual standard of reporting by the newspaper.

For further information: Mark Paterson 02 6273 2311 bh

Chief Executive 016 280 664 pager

documents MR/97

L E A D I N G A U S T R A L I A N B U S I N E S S

Excerpt from Transcript, SBS “Insight”, 16 April 1998

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

Shenker: Mark Paterson is the obvious person to ask this question to. I mean, if Patricks is successful, do you expect other businesses to use the same tactics?

Paterson: I think, as I have said earlier, you need to look at this as a unique set of circumstances.

McMullan: Why is it unique, Mark?

Paterson: It is a unique set of circumstances because the employer has tried to negotiate with the support of Government, both the previous Government and this Government, sought to negotiate change in the workplace which the workforce has been... .

u ',* V ' 1 ' w ... . - · · . ·. .. · · .

Shenker: So you are saying under no circumstances, if a Court finds that this is a valid way of going about business, it won’t happen again? Other employers won’t latch on to that, less scrupulous ones, as Bob McMullan was talking about perhaps, won’t latch on to it as a way of dismissing a unionised workforce?

Paterson: You can’t say that that won’t occur, but I think that you have a particular set of circumstances and we shouldn’t divert the debate away from what we are trying to achieve here, which is fundamental reform of the waterfront, the gateway of Australia. It should not divert the

argument to try and say ‘well if this occurs on the waterfront, it will flow through the whole of the Australian economy’.

Shenker: Are you saying that you wouldn’t like it to flow through to other sections of the economy though?

Paterson: What we want is to see unproductive workplaces changed so that they embrace reform in the way that the rest of the economy has done so. The waterfront has been unwilling to do it and if there are other sectors of the Australian economy unwilling to embrace reform, then this is a lesson for them.

(Highlighted text identifies Herald quote.)

documents MR 28/97

L E A D I N G A U S T R A L I A N B U S I N E S S