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What about some competition in the labour market?

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John Howard

NEWS RELEASE Member for BennelongShadow Minister for Industrial Relations & Manager of Opposition Business in the House IR 034/94


The gall of the Prime Minister in lecturing the States in Darwin today about the need for competition is breathtaking but typical.

Paul Keating's sermonising would have more substance if he were willing to apply the principles of competition he wishes the States to adopt to economic areas under the Federal Government's direct control.

The major area in glaring need of greater competition is, of course, Australia's highly regulated and anti-competitive labour markets.

Since his re-election in March 1993, Mr Keating and his colleagues have reduced competition in the labour market area. -

The principles he rightly asks the States to embrace, and which are contained in the Hilmer Report, were totally absent when his soulmate, Laurie Brereton, wrote the Industrial Relations Reform Act last year.

That Act was an unprincipled cave-in to the vested interests represented by the ACTU and nothing more than a shameful election payback.

Martin Ferguson maybe going through his regular ritual of stamping his feet at the Labor Government but he and everyone else knows that the unions got what they wanted from the Keating Government last year.

Today's reports that in its latest submission to the

Industrial Relations Commission the Government has removed any ambiguities about the central place of the award system merely reinforce the reality that the 1993 Act was an anti-

competitive, pro-union sell-out.

By all means, let the Hilmer Report he implemented. It is pro-competitive common sense. But then, so is a freer labour market but you won't hear anything from Paul Keating regarding

this in Darwin today.