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Wran's civil liberties lament goes unheeded



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NEWS RELEASE

JOHN HOWARD, M.P.MEMBER FOR BENNELONGSHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, EMPLOYMENT 61 TRAINING

1 May 1994

MINN'S CIVIL LIBERTIES LAMENT GOES UNHEEDED

Although he may not have had the Keating Government in mind, the broadside by the former New South Wales Premier, Neville Wran, last Friday about the erosion of civil liberties was directly relevant to the recent legislative action of the Federal Labor Government in the industrial relations area.

Speaking to the Annual Dinner of the Evatt Foundation in Sydney, Mr Wran said "it seems that each week, in some Parliament in some State of'Australia,a law is passed reversing the onus of proof".

Reversing the onus of proof is: exactly what the Keating Government has done with the new unfair dismissal provisions of the recently enacted Industrial Relations Act.

Under those provisions, the onus is thrust upon an employer to prove in a court case that he or she has not unfairly sacked an employee instead of the other way around.

Mr Wran's remarks may have been specifically directed to the reversal of the onus of proof in criminal cases, but the principle, nonetheless, stands good for civil cases (e.g. unfair dismissal cases) as well.

Trampling on civil liberties in the industrial relations sphere does not stop at reversing the onus of proof.

The Keating Labor Government continues to sanction and support compulsory unionism and the insidious practice of openly giving preference to trade unionists over other employees.

The latest example of this is the outrageous threat from the Education Minister, Simon Crean, to financially penalise Victoria because the Kennett Government has quite properly moved to prohibit compulsory unionism on university campuses in that

State.

When it comes to placating the organised trade union movement, Labor Governments, despite their constant preaching about civil liberties, are always ready to play fast and loose with individual rights and freedoms.

We can be certain that Neville Wran is passionate plea will fall on deaf ALP ears in all matters concerning industrial relations.

For further information - 02/439 4360 COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LMRARY M ICAH