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NSW Farmers' Association Annual Conference, Sydney: transcript of doorstop interview: [Bob Carr; ACTU; Industrial Relations; GST]



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   The Hon. Peter Reith, MP       Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business       Leader of the House of Representatives       Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

17 July  2000 

Transcript of the Hon Peter Reith MP  

Doorstop interview

NSW Farmers' Association Annual Conference, Sydney

 

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REITH:

It is a disgrace that Bob Carr refuses to meet any workers from Scone. These workers are entitled to meet the Premier. These workers have been badly dudded by the New South Wales Government. The New South Wales Government has not been prepared to match the Commonwealth Coalition Government on a dollar for dollar basis. It’s about time a Labor government in New South Wales gave a fair go to workers and the first step towards that would be for Mr Carr to be prepared to speak to them. Just to arrogantly reject their request to speak to the Premier shows you what sort of bloke Bob Carr really is. It is not good enough for a Labor leader just to cast aside these workers. They do deserve a fair hearing. They have not had a fair hearing and I call on Bob Carr to at least give these blokes a chance to come and put their case to him.

JOURNALIST:

Will you continue with your attack on the State government [inaudible]…for not supporting your policy…your entitlements to protect workers who have lost [inaudible]. Do you see any change…

REITH:

Well, I think he should feel a lot of political heat and the ACTU and various individual unions I know are very unhappy with these State Labor leaders who are not prepared to help workers. For example, Bob Carr will in his next State election, he’ll be asking for the very same workers to help him get back but he won’t be prepared to do anything for them in the meantime. Steve Bracks was elected by workers who have been paying their union dues, the money has gone to the Labor Party but the Labor Party has just turned their back on them. No, I think it’s about time these Labor leaders did something for a few workers who are in genuine need.

JOURNALIST:

…What’s your reaction to the Sydney University study which has found that those employees that went onto federal awards are doing a lot better. There seems to be two structures to it.

REITH:

I have not seen any details of that so…whose report was that?

JOURNALIST:

It was a Sydney University study which found that [inaudible]…the Kennett regime are actually up to 20 per cent worse off than those that went with federal awards.

REITH:

Oh, well, I’d read it before I commented on it. But the fact is that there are a lot of academics that will tell you what they want to tell you and dress it up as academic research. But anyway, I don’t know anything about the report.

JOURNALIST:

With all due respect, it was the Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research which…

REITH:

Oh well, it’s recognised for its one-sided view on industrial relations and I would dismiss it without even having read their report but based on the quality of their previous work.

JOURNALIST:

Yesterday you said that the GST arrangements were not set in stone and they may require some requirements. What did you allude to in terms…

REITH:

Well, our policy is very clear and our policy is quite set and the tax has been introduced. Kim Beazley’s the one who wants to change the policy and he wants us to introduce exemptions. We are not introducing any exemptions. My comment was about a few technical things which are, you know, which may or may not happen in the future. The issue is whether or not the policy is right or wrong. Kim Beazley says it is so wrong he is going to keep it and then he wants to change it. Now, we say the policy has been right and we have got it right and we are introducing it and that’s it. Kim Beazley wants to roll it back and he can’t tell you how he is going to roll it back but as Della said you start introducing exemptions you introduce, you know, a more messy system. And that’s absolutely right and Kim Beazley still has no answer to that. And not only did Della attack Kim Beazley’s policy he attacked his capacity to run even his own office. And I say if you can’t run your own office you can’t run your own party and if you can’t run your own party then you can’t run the country.

JOURNALIST:

Crean said this morning though that his reading of what you said was that you were also to [inaudible]…roll back as well, that you are trying to dress it up in other words but basically that’s what…

REITH:

How embarrassing for Simon Crean to have John Della Bosca attack his policy and now for Greg Sword to say that John Della Bosca is going to play a key role in the next campaign. Now, that is really a major rebuff for Simon Crean. Either Della is right or he is wrong. I thought last week they were saying he’s wrong but this week it looks like he’s right enough to be back in there running the campaign and obviously the advice he is going to be giving is that Simon Crean’s policy position is hopeless. Well, we all now know that it’s hopeless. In fact, we could have told you well before Della did but even amongst senior people in the Labor Party. Now, I think this revelation from Greg Sword that the Labor Party is going to have Della Bosca in there running the campaign as a key member of that campaign team raises real questions about Kim Beazley’s ability to push through his policy and it raises questions now about Simon Crean’s position.

I should just lastly say the first thing that Greg Sword should do as the incoming President is that he should call an inquiry into the vote rigging in the Victorian pre-selection. This is pretty odd that the returning officer is changing the votes. No other electoral process in Australia would allow that to happen, to allow a returning officer to fiddle a vote. Now, I call on Greg Sword, if he is to be a genuine National President to make it quite clear that if he is elected there’ll be an independent inquiry into the vote rigging and the tampering with ballot papers for the recent Isaacs pre-selection.

[ends]

 

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