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Coalition will consult on industrial relations bill



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NEWS RELEASE JOHN HOWARD, M.P.

M EM B ER FOR BENNELONG

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL

RELATIONS, EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING

IRET 78/92

COALITION WILL CONSULT ON INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS BILL

The next Coalition Government will allow adequate time for perusal of and comment upon legislation to implement its industrial relations policy before any attempt is made to put that legislation through parliament.

This means that trade unions, employer organisations and other interested bodies will have a reasonable opportunity to express opinions on the legislation before it becomes law.

The legislation, which will directly reflect the already announced policy of the Coalition, will be ready for presentation to the first sitting of the new parliament.

The new Government will be more than ready to listen to comments and advice regarding technical aspects of the legislation, whether it contains unintended consequences, or whether the elements of the policy could be more effectively achieved in another manner.

We shall not, however, be negotiating afresh the acceptability or otherwise of the policy as the terms of that policy will have been well known for months, and have been the subject of intense debate during the election campaign.

As a consequence the Liberal and National Parties will have a mandate to proceed with its implementation.

I repeat the earlier categorical assurances I have given that the legislation will faithfully reflect the already announced policy of the Coalition.

There will not be any post-election negatives added to the policy.

I have no intention of publishing a draft bill before the election.

The Prime Minister's offer today of the services of Parliamentary Counsel is a Keating "try-on" and part and parcel of his attempts to make the Opposition and not the Government's disastrous stewardship the main issue in the coming election campaign.

I am sure he would be perfectly astonished if I were to accept his offer.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

2

No previous Opposition has ever been required to publish draft legislation. The current Opposition has published more detailed policies than any other Opposition in Australia's history.

I did previously say I would publish a draft bill. I changed my mind on this some months ago because I regarded it as unwise to publish draft legislation on the eve of an election with the possibility that an inadvertent error could become

the subject of intense debate.

The position is that a bill has been partially drafted and further work is proceeding.

I have used the services of a retired parliamentary counsel who is now a consultant to the Pari lament airy Draughtsman.

In addition, I am accepting offers of help from private lawyers.

Naturally, the advice of the Attorney-General's Department, serving Parliamentary Counsel, and the Department of Industrial Relations have not been available to me.

Mr Keating's offer today is a political gimmick. So will be any offer of further assistance. Mr Keating is not interested in helping me to draught legislation faithfully reflecting the Coalition's industrial relations policy.

He is trawling around hoping for political advantage.

CANBERRA 11 November 1992