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Wage justice the victim of industrial relations' failure

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John. Howard

NEWS 'RELEASE Member for BennelongShadow Minister for Industrial Relations & Manager of Opposition Business in the House -IR 053/94 •.


The Coalition supports Australian employees in their quest for lasting increases in their real incomes.

The _tragedy for them is that the Keating 'Government has

squandered numergus opportunities to reform the labour market and provide a mechanism for employees to receive wage justice without damage being inflicted on the economy.

It is completely understandable that Australian workers should seek wage rises, and a share in edbnamic recovery.

Interest rate hikes have increased the 'struggle of many to support their families on low to middle incomes. It is only human that in a climate of higher company profits employees should seek wage increases.

However, the dilemma they face is that our current wage fixation system cannot deliver productivity-based and non-inflationary wage rises.

Across the board, union-inspired, wage increases will be self-defeating if they are not effectively linked to productivity as, inevitably, they will cause higher inflation and interest rates which in turn will cancel out the value of any wage rise.

Conflicting signals from Ministers have compounded the problem.

In the past three weeks, the Treasurer and the Prime Minister have contradicted each other with the former appearing to correct himself and the latter leaving the entire community confused as to where he stands. The Industrial Relations Minister has all but opted out of the debate.

The failure of the Keating Government to reform our industrial relations system means that Australian employees will be denied lasting wage justice.