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Parliament House, Canberra, 9 April 1998: transcript of doorstop interview [Federal Court; waterfront]



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THE HON PETER REITH MP

MINISTER FOR WORKPLACE RELATIONS AND SMALL BUSINESS

LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

PARLIAMENT HOUSE

CANBERRA ACT 2600

 

9 April, 1998

 

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON PETER REITH MP

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW - PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

 

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JOURNALIST:

 

Mr Reith, what's the implications of the Federal Court's decision yesterday?

 

REITH:

 

Reform is unstoppable. I think the bottom line is that the farmers employe es are in the Patrick's operations in Fremantle. We will see more of that over the next few days and Australia is going to have an efficient waterfront. And that will mean more jobs, higher living standards and it will help us pay back the legacy of debt left to us by the Labor Party.

 

So it’s as simple as that.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

So there's nothing that the workers can do to stop this process?

 

REITH:

 

Well without going into the technicalities, you've seen the confusion from the union ranks this morning. In one breath they're saying, "all our members are being sacked", in the next breath they're saying, "we've got an injunction to stop our members being sacked".

 

Now, I mean the technicalities are that the labour hire company, of which they are today still employees, no longer has a contract to provide labour services to a stevedoring company. And it's the severance of that contract and the issuing of new contracts which was the turning point in this reform. And that process, that contractual arrangement, has not been the subject of court proceedings to my knowledge and that is why this issue will continue. But it's not for me to be giving legal advise. But that's as a I understand, the sort of technical aspect to it.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

So what's happening when they're turning up for shifts?

 

REITH:

 

Well I mean, it is amazing. I mean these guys have been for months, trying to destroy the company and now they're at the gates saying, 'let us in '. Well you know they should have been taking a cooperative attitude and the union leadership has a lot to answer for, for treating the employees in the way that they have, for running a campaign to destroy their employer. And the employer in the end, has to act to preserve the business and that's what happened.

 

I really must go.

 

ENDS. . .

 

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