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Cook is putty in Kelty's hands



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JOHN HOW ARD, M.P.

M E M B E R FOR B EN NELONG

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NEWS RELEASE SHADOW M IN IS TE R FOR IN D U STR IA L. RELATIONS, E M P L O Y M E N T & TR A IN IN G

IRET 015/92

COOK IS PUTTY IN KELTY'S HANDS

The projected retirement of Mr Justice Dennis Mahoney as Chairman of the Remuneration Tribunal is the latest illustration of how much power the ACTU Secretary Bill Kelty exerts over the Industrial Relations Minister,

Senator Peter Cook.

Despite the wordy protestations of the Minister, it is clearly the case that Mr Justice Mahoney's decision to retire is linked to the Government's rejection of the recommendations of the Remuneration Tribunal concerning the salaries of members of the Industrial Relations Commission.

The Remuneration Tribunal has been treated with contempt and the reaction of its chairman is hardly surprising.

All this is because the Government has tieen at pains to placate the ACTU.

For more than two years the ACTU has conducted a squalid campaign against the members of the Industrial Relations Commission on the salary issue.

I am on record as having expressed the view that I saw no particular reason why there should be a nexus between the salaries·· of certain Commission members and federal judges. My view has not altered.

However, given that the salaries of Commission members are within the ambit of the Remuneration Tribunal's responsibilities and bearing in mind that the Remuneration Tribunal has exhaustively examined the issue, it makes a total mockery of the Tribunal's role for the government to reject

its latest recommendation. ·

This issue was examined by a special group chaired by Mr Gerry Gleeson.

All along it has been obvious that Senator Cook would dance to the tune of the ACTU.

We should have been spared the pantomime of the issue going back to the Remuneration Tribunal.

COMMONWEALTH I

PARLIAMENTARY LliRAUY I MiCAH

. . . 1 2

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As is well known, I have no particular brief for the role of the Industrial Relations Commission nor do I believe that each and every recommendation of the Remuneration Tribunal should be automatically accepted.

However, the point which clearly emerges from this issue is that, no matter what other bodies are involved and irrespective of the merits, the ACTU will always get its way with this government.

The so-called freeing up of Section 115 of the Industrial Relations Act is nothing short of a transfer of power from the Industrial Relations Commission to the Minister which effectively means more clout to Bill Kelty.

The course of events regarding the salaries of members of the Industrial Relations Commission shows yet again what putty the Industrial Relations Minister is in the hands of the Secretary of the ACTU.

SYDNEY 19 March 1992 P