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Keating's phoney union attack

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H dNEWSRELEASE Member for BennelongShadow Minister for Industrial Relations & Manager of Opposition Business in the House TR 42/94


Yesterday's so-called "attack" on trade unions by the Prime Minister was a complete political stunt, like much of the Conference itself.

Such stage-managed fury will fool no-one.

The reality, as distinct from the government's industrial relations rhetoric, is that ALP policy has given more power to the trade union bosses.

If Paul Keating had wanted to modernise the union movement, why didn't the government amend the Industrial Relations Act to promote real enterprise bargaining, as well as inject competition between unions by allowing voluntary unionism and enterprise unions?

The Prime minister's stunt cannot cover the fact that the government has utterly capitulated at ever stage to the union movement, whether it be over the changes to the Act or the maritime union's tax deal.

His feigned froth and bubble at yesterday's conference sits uneasily with the unions having successfully rolled Laurie Rrereton on every issue the Minister has dealt with from industrial relations to transport matters.

The National Wage Case decision was a clear example of union dominance in government policy. The union-inspired changes to the Act, including the need for iconSistenti wages, forced the Industrial Relations Commission to implement across-the-board wage increases.

In practice, centralised wage fixation is making a come-back -exactly what the ACTU wants.

The unions have been fighting for the emasculation of sections 45 d and e in the Trade Practices Act since their introduction in 1977, to place themselves further above the law. They won that last year as well.


So much for the is just another saying another.

veneer of conflict at the ALP conference. It example of the government doing one thing and


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The flexible, enterprise bargaining rhetoric, as always, is out of sync with the union dominated reality.

This game of double-speak between the political and industrial wing of the labour movement is as laughable as it is recognisable. The community isn't fooled.

Yesterday's abysmal current account figures highlight the need for genuine reform of our industrial relations system to unleash our productive potential.

Staged managed conflict belies the true industrial master and fails the national interest by stalling such reform.

SYDNEY 30/9/94