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Kelty's job stand welcomed

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John Howard

NEWS RELEASE Member for BennelongShadow Minister for Industrial Relations & Manager of Opposition Business in the House IR007/94


I warmly welcome the reported comments of the ACTU Secretary, Mr Bill Kelty, that trade unions should negotiate with employers for extra jobs in return for giving up part of possible wage rises

for those who already have jobs.

Not only does such a statement explicitly recognise the link between employment levels and wage rises, it is also an appropriate acknowledgment by Mr Kelty of just how hard it will be for Australia to reduce her chronic level of long-term unemployment.

Mr Kelty and I may disagree on many things. However, on the score of reducing unemployment, I am sure our goals are identical.

The cost and complication of employing people is a major factor in the recruiting decisions of employers.

That is why the recent amendments to the Industrial Relations Act are to be condemned. They have made the system more complicated and have provided major new disincentives, especially for small employers, to hire new workers.

I also endorse the emphasis Mr Kelty has placed on traineeships for young people.

His acknowledgment that unions have hitherto resisted the notion of trainees receiving discounted wages for a year is very refreshing.

I am, of course, constrained to note that such an approach is perilously similar to policies advocated by the federal coalition in the last election campaign and roundly condemned by both the Labor Party and the ACTU as unfair and likely to reduce the

living standards of young Australians.

Now that we are not in an election campaign cycle common sense is back in the sun.